Some Dubai private schools will be allowed to increase tuition fees by up to 6 per cent in the 2023-2024 academic year, the emirate's education regulator has said.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority made the announcement on Friday, saying operational costs and the economic situation in the emirate were factors in the decision.
Tuition fees for Dubai's private schools had been frozen for the past three academic years in a row.
The regulator said only schools which maintain or improve inspection ratings would be allowed to increase fees.
- Schools that maintain their inspection ratings will be eligible to raise tuition fees by up to 3 per cent.
- Schools that improve their rating from “weak” to “acceptable” and from “acceptable” to “good” can increase fees by up to 6 per cent.
- Schools that move from “good” to “very good” can increase fees by 5.25 per cent.
- Schools that improve from “very good” to “outstanding” can apply a 4.5 per cent rise.
“We have worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure the school fees framework continues to support a robust and reliable private education sector that offers families a choice of affordable and high-quality education,” said the KHDA.
“The approved fee increase takes into account the economic situation of the emirate, as well as the operational costs of running a private school while maintaining the quality of education.
“The rate by which schools can increase their fees is tied to each school’s most recent inspection rating from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau.
“Under the School Fees Framework, private schools that maintain the same inspection rating will be eligible to increase their fees by 3 per cent.
“Schools dropping in the annual ratings will not be eligible for any fee increase.
“Schools that improve their rating in the most recent inspections will be eligible to increase their fees according to the methodology outlined in the School Fees Framework.”
Enrolment at Dubai private schools has increased by 4.5 per cent since the last academic year, the KHDA said.
Twenty-two new schools opened in the past three years, bringing the number of private schools in Dubai to 216, the regulator said.
“The School Fees Framework emphasises the quality of education offered by schools as the foundation for any adjustments allowed in school fees,” said Mohammed Darwish, chief executive of the Permits and Compliance Sector at the KHDA.
“The framework also provides transparency for families and offers them a choice of schools that match their financial and academic requirements.
“The framework was developed to allow schools to develop long-term growth plans while sustaining their current operations to provide a high quality of education to students.
“We have worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure the school fees framework continues to support a robust and reliable private education sector that offers families a choice of affordable and high-quality education.”
School inspection results
Private school inspections are continuing in Dubai. They are carried out on in phases, covering each curriculum taught in the emirate.
Results from the first in-person inspection of 32 Indian and two Pakistani private schools in Dubai were released last week.
Seven schools improved their ratings, which would allow them to increase fees in the next academic year.
Gems Our Own Indian School and Credence High School improved from “good” to “very good”.
Reports from all schools are due to be released by June, allowing eligible schools time to assess whether to apply the tuition fee increase.
The KHDA began assessing schools in 2008 and inspections were carried out every year, until they were temporarily halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2019, the last year of in-person assessment, 176 schools were inspected, including 11 for the first time.
School group to boost teacher salaries
Dino Varkey, group chief executive for leading school operator Gems Education, welcomed the decision and said staff would benefit.
“Today's decision by KHDA to increase school fees for the academic year 2023-2024 empowers us to invest further in our teachers and facilities, the foundations of a quality education for every Gems Education student” said Mr Varkey.
“We are pleased to confirm today that we will be implementing teacher salary increases in April for our Indian curriculum schools and in September for our international schools.”