Just weeks after parents got news of the hike in their children’s school fees for the academic year 2016-17, there’s confusion over how to calculate the new fee.
Several readers have written to Emirates24|7 saying their children’s school fees has gone up by 14 per cent, when the highest allowed increase is 6.42 per cent, which is reserved for ‘Outstanding’ schools.
While the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has clearly indicated the permitted fee increase, based on the annual school inspection report and the Economic Consumer Index (ECI), some parents have noticed that their calculations are not tallying with that of the school.
“Our school got a ‘good’ grade, which means it should be allowed 4.81 per cent, but when I did the math, it was working out to 14 per cent,” reported a parent, requesting anonymity. His child is in year 1 in a British school in Al Twar. “When I checked I realised that the increase was reflected on the ‘miscellaneous fees’.”
Another parent, on condition of anonymity, informed that she too noticed “big jumps” in the final calculation. “It is when I checked with the school that I learnt that these additional fees or what they call as miscellaneous fee is not mandatory. Had I known this earlier, I would have saved some money last year.”
Some schools list IT, books, stationery and medical as ‘misc fees’.
The schools, KHDA clarifies, can establish whether these fees are mandatory or not, so parents must check with their school or the parent-school contract to determine what they must pay, and what they can skip.
In an e-mail statement to Emirates24|7, Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission at KHDA, said: “The school fee framework applies to tuition fees and costs for any other services provided by the school such as bus fees, uniforms and school books. If such services are provided by a third-party, then the fee framework is not applicable.
“Fees for any non-tuition services provided by a third party must be optional for parents and it should be subject to supervision and regulation by other government entities.
“The parent-school contract clearly lists mandatory and optional fees and it comes as part of KHDA’s effort to help parents understand their rights and responsibilities when dealing with a school. Parents can choose to opt out of any optional fees listed in the contract.”
How the fee increase is calculated
Based on the ranking, schools can now increase the fees for the academic year 2016-17.
In February, the KHDA had announced that all private schools in Dubai can increase their fees based on their individual school grade and the Education Cost Index (ECI), which is set at 3.21 per cent.
According to the KHDA fee framework, schools rated 'outstanding' will be allowed to increase fees by 6.42 per cent, which is double the ECI.
'Very good' schools will be eligible for 5.61 per cent, which is 1.75 times the ECI; and, 'Good' schools will be allowed 4.81 per cent, which is 1.5 times the ECI.
The 'acceptable', 'weak' and 'very weak' will be allowed to increase by 3.21 per cent.
There’s also an ‘exceptional fee increase’, which is reserved for, as the word suggests, exceptional cases. These are reviewed and approved by the KHDA