Tuition fees at some Dubai schools can be raised by up to 5.2 per cent in new term

Private education regulator approves performance-based fee increases

Some Dubai schools will be able to increase tuition fees in the next academic year. The National
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Some private schools in Dubai will be allowed to increase tuition fees by up to 5.2 per cent in the 2024-2025 academic year, the emirate's private education regulator said.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority said on Tuesday that only schools that maintain or improve their inspection ratings would be allowed to raise fees.

Private schools in Dubai were allowed to increase charges by up to six per cent last year, after tuition fees had been frozen for the three previous years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuition fee rises

  • Schools that maintain their inspection ratings will be eligible to raise tuition fees by up to 2.6 per cent.
  • Schools dropping in the annual inspection ratings will not be eligible to apply for any fee increase.
  • Schools that improve their rating from “weak” to “acceptable” and from “acceptable” to “good” can increase fees by up to 5.2 per cent.
  • Schools that move from “good” to very good” can increase fees by a maximum of 4.55 per cent.
  • Schools that improve from “very good” to “outstanding” can apply for a 3.9 per cent rise.

The increases have been calculated based on an Education Cost Index, issued by the KHDA.

The index uses the annual audited financial statements of private schools in Dubai, which outline the operational costs of running a private school to offer a high quality of education, and is calculated in collaboration with the Digital Dubai Authority.

Fee increases are linked to a school's most recent inspection rating, the KHDA said.

Dubai school fees for 2023-24 academic year

“Aligning the fee adjustment with schools’ inspection ratings emphasises the quality offered by schools, while enhancing the competitiveness of the sector and encouraging schools to meet the needs of parents by catering to the needs of a diverse student body to ensure access to high-quality education for all children,” said Shamma Al Mansouri, director of permits at KHDA.

“Furthermore, the application of a scientific methodology to monitor and analyse the audited financial statements of private schools in Dubai allows for a transparent process that takes into account the interests of all our stakeholders and ensures continuous improvement in the quality of education offered by schools, while also safeguarding the sustainability of the private schools' sector.”

School inspection ratings for the current year have not yet been announced. Dubai authorities will issue the results before the end of the academic year in June.

Investing in education

Dino Varkey, group chief executive at Gems Education, one of the country's leading school groups, welcomed the move.

“The decision to increase school fees for academic year 2024-2025, depending on KHDA approval for each school, empowers us to invest further in our teachers, curriculum provision and facilities,” he said. “We will be informing our families in due course about their schools’ fee structure for the coming academic year.”

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal at Delhi Private School Dubai, said the decision would help to ensure all pupils received high quality education.

“I am glad to see that struggling schools are being supported,” she said. “It’s a step in the right direction to ensure good quality education for all pupils.”

Dubai's private school system is rapidly expanding, reflecting a population growth in the emirate. The school population surged by a record 39,000 in one year, authorities said on in October.

Official statistics show more than 365,000 pupils are enrolled in schools in the emirate, up from 326,000 in November 2022. The KHDA said the 12 per cent rise is the biggest since the authority was established in 2007.

School group freezes fees

The Indian High Group of Schools has confirmed it will not raise tuition fees.

The education provider, which has three campuses in Dubai, said it would mark the sixth consecutive year charges had remained unchanged.

“The KHDA has permitted our not-for-profit group of schools to apply for a fee adjustment outside and higher of the rate eligibility scale, depending on the needs of our group,” said Punit Vasu, Indian High Group of Schools' chief executive.

“Despite the ever-increasing operational costs, current rates of inflation that are at a record-high across the globe, and the permission from KHDA to increase fees beyond the normal scale, we have chosen yet again not to increase tuition fees for the academic year 2024-2025.

“As a community group of schools, we empathise with the financial challenges that some of our parents face and believe that the savings parents benefit from not having a fee increase will give our parents the choice and freedom to pick and choose other areas of prioritised spending for their learners.”

New Dubai schools - in pictures

Updated: April 03, 2024, 1:30 PM