Already very expensive private schools in Dubai are now provided with another opportunity to increase their fees and maximise their profits. Most of them are already more costly than private schools in Switzerland and the United Kingdom while their performance is not on par.
The Dubai Statistics Centre has announced a new Education Cost Index (ECI) which will allow private schools in Dubai to increase fees for the 2016/17 new academic year. The ECI has been set at 3.21 percent, however, locally rates as “Outstanding” schools will be allowed to double this figure to 6.42 percent, “Very Good” schools by 5.61 percent, “Good” schools by 4.815 percent and the rest by the set 3.21 percent.
KHDA says the new ECI takes into account school operating costs, including teacher salaries, rent, maintenance, electricity and water charges and many more. Most of the new private schools in Dubai are built in suburban areas or even on industrial lands, and their remote locations oblige parents to pay expensive transportation. A year-long bus transport to the school and back could cost on average 10,000 dirhams. In addition, many of the teachers in these new private schools are very young and inexperienced, and many schools even invite parents to undergo in-school training programs in order to become teachers.Here one must note that teachers in Europe, even in public free of charge schools, usually need university diplomas to be able to practice.
People from KHDA commented that “the fee framework has been updated to align with the new six-scale UAE School Inspection framework which determines the quality of education in schools. It protects parents from arbitrary increases and provides an effective mechanism to balance the expectations of school investors and parents.”
“The ECI motivates schools to improve their quality of education and helps regulate inflation by adjusting the increase.”
Since its establishment, KHDA has focused mainly on protecting the interests of investors in education and has taken into a little consideration the hardship of parents who struggle to match investors’ profits expectations. The fees of private schools in Dubai range from AED 20,000 to AED 120,000 per annum. The school fees for only one child would sum up to between $200,000 and $300,000 for the span of his mandatory education in an average private school in Dubai. As a fact of note, expatriate children can’t attend state-backed private schools which open to UAE nationals only. In addition, parents of private school students have to provide also for approximately 20 percent extra to the school fees for uniforms, textbooks, transportation, canteen food and other similar accessories to education.
In the current macroeconomic scenario, a school fees increase do not bode well with the absence of well-paid jobs and the prevailing recessionary sentiment.