Private schools in Dubai will be allowed to increase their tuition fees by between 2.4 per cent to 4.8 per cent for the next academic year – from 2017-2018, the emirate’s school regulator announced on Sunday.
The new annual Education Cost Index (ECI), calculated by the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC), was set at 2.4 per cent, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said. The ECI is calculated on the basis of school operating costs, which includes teachers’ salaries, rent, maintenance, electricity and water charges, among other commodities.
Schools will be permitted to increase their fees depending on their KHDA inspection rating.
Schools rated as ‘outstanding’ will be eligible to hike fees by up to double the ECI – 4.8 per cent, while ‘very good’ schools can increase fees by 1.75 times the ECI – 4.2 per cent, and ‘good’ schools by 1.5 times – 3.6 per cent.
The rest of the schools can only increase fees by the 2.4 per cent ECI rate.
In its 2016 report, the KHDA rated 16 private schools as outstanding, while 13 were declared very good overall. New private schools are not allowed to increase tuition fees for the first three years of operation.
“Schools can adjust their costs in line with the fees framework that takes into account the quality of education offered at private schools in Dubai,” said Mohammed Darwish, the KHDA’s chief of regulations and permits commission.
“It protects parents from arbitrary increases and provides an effective mechanism to balance the expectations of school investors and parents.”
However, not all educational institutions plan to hike their fees this year.
Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at education provider Taaleem, said that most schools within its network will keep fees unchanged.
“After listening closely to our parents and being aware of the increasing financial pressures many families are facing we made two announcements in November 2016, for the academic year 2017-18. These were firstly, not to implement a fee increase irrespective of this year’s announcement of ECI, and secondly to offer new sibling discounts and improved payment terms for our families.
“These announcements were warmly welcomed and appreciated by our community and were offered to most of our Dubai schools,” he said.
But the ECI will help other Dubai schools, “especially those with historically low fees to close their funding gap”, he added.
“Many of the low fee schools are advised, after inspection, that to increase or consolidate their rating, they must invest more in technology, significantly improve their facilities and improve the quality and the training of their staff. This requirement for improvement often requires very substantial investment.
“This announcement will help those schools that have long served the community, to balance their books,” Pierrepont said.
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