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Half of UAE parents to switch school if fee hiked

By Shuchita Kapur

Unable to cope with ever increasing school fees, a big number of parents in the UAE may switch schools if fees are increased any further.

This is according to a survey carried out by website souqalmal.com. Their latest findings reveal that 78 per cent of parents disagree with the recent approved fee hike and believe this is only an added burden on them.

The survey carried out by the website questioned parents about the current educational environment in the UAE with more than 650 parents participating. Most respondents were parents of either one or two children and majority of them were already aware of Dubai Executive Council’s decision. As anticipated, over 78 per cent of parents disagreed with further rise in tuition fees.  This is understandable considering that 91 per cent of parents surveyed thought the fees were already high and that an increase would bring some serious thoughts to the funds spent on the education of their kids, said the portal.

And for many the surge in schooling costs may push them to take the ultimate step – move out their wards from the current school.

“An alarming outcome for schools based on the poll was that 45 per cent of parents would consider changing their child’s current school if fess were raised.  The increase in fees could cause changes in the financial circumstances of many families and disruption to their child’s education. Approximately 33 per cent would consider the change only if the increase was significant enough to disrupt their finances and put them in a difficult position.  Such results could indicate concerns over the increasing cost of living in the UAE.

“When it comes to standard of education offered by UAE schools, over 76 per cent of parents claimed that the standard of education does not match the fees they are being asked to pay with 61 per cent of them rating the education level only as average,” it said.

The Education Cost Index (ECI) determines percentage increase in fees. ECI measures average operating cost of a school and is calculated at 1.74 per cent for 2014-15 academic year. This means, after inspections by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau, schools rated as “outstanding” can increase fees by 3.48 per cent. Schools rated “good” can increase by 2.61 per cent and any rating below can increase fees by 1.74 per cent. The fact remains, that these increases are still below the cap set by Dubai Executive Council but are needed to help sustain the operations of schools.

An earlier survey by website whichschooladvisor.com showed that with often a static household income the schooling costs are increasing.

The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com School Fees and Financing survey showed that almost 9 out of 10 parents (87 per cent) claim school fees cause financial stress for themselves and their family.

Only 5 per cent of respondents have their school fees paid by their companies, with another 15 per cent getting various levels of contribution.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)