Private school fee cap a boon for parents

Dubai: Private schools in Dubai are set to open on September 2 on a positive note for parents — they will not have to pay higher fees this academic year.

In June, the Dubai Executive Council had issued a decision not to increase school fees for all private schools in the emirate for the new academic year 2018-19 to reduce the financial burden on parents.

This week, as parents go about shopping for back-to-school items, they will not have to worry about budgeting for higher fees.

‘Greatly welcomed’

Mohammad Omar, a British expat whose child goes to an IB curriculum school in Dubai, said: “The announcement on the freeze on school fees was greatly welcomed. Parents have one less thing to worry about now and every bit counts when it comes to saving money. If your salary is the same and if school expenses were to go up, it would have meant an extra financial burden. That is not happening this school year, thankfully.”

Fees framework

In Dubai, school fee increases are normally tied to the official rating of the school — the higher the rating, the higher the allowed increase in fees. While parents can be pleased to find out their school is rated high in official annual inspections, it also means they normally have to pay higher fees each school year.

Together with the rating, fee increases are also regulated by an official Education Cost Index (ECI). For the last school year 2017-18, the allowed fee increase ranged from 2.4 per cent to 4.8 per cent. However, many schools had decided to freeze fees to stay competitive or ease the financial burden on parents.

Omar said: “In my case, for my child in primary section, and based on the latest rating and the previously-announced ECI for last school year, the increase this school year would have been extra Dh1,260. I had initially budgeted for the increase but following the announcement on the freeze on fees, I can now save that amount or spend it on other expenses.”

‘Thoughtful gesture’

Another parent, Fayza Begum, said any anticipated increase in fees would not have been a substantial sum for her — less than Dh300 for her child at an Indian school in Dubai. “But there are parents with three or four children in the same school — these costs add up. While I’m also pleased about the announcement, I’m sure others are even more delighted. And it’s a very thoughtful gesture from the authorities; it says a lot to parents,” said Begum, who is from India.

Besides the freeze on fees, and independently from that announcement, some schools had also said they would be lowering fees to stay competitive or ease the financial burden on parents.

Rents frozen

Schools too had received good news — rents of school and other education sector buildings will not be increased during the new academic year 2018-209, it was announced in July.

A statement from Dubai Media Office had then said the initiative is aimed at supporting Dubai-based educational institutions and reduce their operational costs.


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