School fees increase capped at 3 and 6 percent

The School Fees Framework for Dubai’s private schools has been announced by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The medium to long term framework will be based on quality of education (as per Dubai Schools Inspection results) and an Educational Cost Index (ECI) calculated by the Dubai Statistics Centre.

The Executive Council endorsed the issuance of the framework (decision no. 43/2011), the criteria for calculating the Educational Cost Index (ECI) (decision no. 2/2012) and 3% as ECI for the academic year 2012-2013 (decision no. 3/2012).

The framework was developed in cooperation with Department of Economic Development, Department of Finance, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Real Estate Corporation, Dubai Statistics Centre, the Dubai Executive Council and KHDA.

Mohammed Darwish, chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission said: “The framework prioritizes the interests of students and parents and encourages investment in the education sector by allowing schools to develop long term growth plans, as well as motivating existing schools to improve the quality of education they offer.

“The framework is evidence-based work and relies on data about the education landscape in Dubai. It is in line with KHDA’s remit to support schools in providing quality education.”

As per the framework, schools given an ‘outstanding’ rating from DSIB will be allowed to increase their school fees at double the rate of ECI (calculated at 3%), schools with a ‘good’ rating by one and half times, and those rated ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ can increase their fees at the rate of ECI. Other conditions that apply are:

  • New private schools will not have the right to increase tuition fees in the first three  years from the date of starting their educational activity;
  • Fees and costs for non-tuition services provided by third parties must be optional for  parents and are subject to the supervision and control of other government agencies;
  • Schools should consider all concerns and input received from parents regarding the school fee increases.

The framework also regulates registration and admission deposits as well refund policies for new and current students.

While all of Dubai’s private schools will fall under generic conditions of the framework, non-profit schools and those schools planning to invest in their infrastructure that would lead to improvements in quality and directly benefit students academically will be considered for exceptions. The specific conditions for this have been identified in the framework. Individual applications from schools will be reviewed by KHDA, as will the cases for students with special needs.

The framework encourages schools’ engagement with parents and involvement in schools’ future plans. The framework can be viewed on KHDA’s website www.khda.gov.ae

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