Abu Dhabi and Dubai tuition - how much can your school raise fees by?

Private schools will be able to increase charges based on performance in league tables from September

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Jan 27, 2016. A mathematics classroom at Gems Wellington Academy. The school has converted 12 classrooms into a large plaza which provides a flexible environment to children to learn.
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Private schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be allowed to raise tuition fees for the 2023-24 academic year.

It marks the first time in three years that increased charges have been permitted in both emirates.

Education authorities have stated that the amount tuition costs can rise by will be partly determined by performance in most recent school inspections.

Schools have the option to not introduce the allowed fee increase.

The Indian High Group of Schools, which has three campuses in Dubai, confirmed last month it will not increase its fees for the next academic year.

In a letter to parents, Indian High Group of Schools chief executive Punit Vasu announced that despite increasing operational costs and inflation rates, the group has decided to freeze tuition fees for the academic year 2023-2024.

“We are — exactly as we did last year — yet again choosing to keep school tuition fees as is this year, maintaining status quo,” Mr Vasu said in the letter.

Here, the National examines how authorities calculated tuition fee charges for the next academic year.

Abu Dhabi tuition fees

The emirate's Department of Education and Knowledge announced this week that all schools in operation for at least three years would be permitted to increase fees.

The decision was made based on the findings of an Educational Cost Index, supported by the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi and the results of school inspections, known as Irtiqaa.

The latest inspections were carried out in the 2021-22 academic year, with subsequent assessments halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The inspections assess schools based on pupil achievement and personal and social development, as well as standards of teaching and curriculums, leadership, management and support structures for pupils.

Inspectors spend about four days at each school to evaluate their overall performance.

Adek said the decision to put into effect the increases is optional, allowing schools to consider the needs of their communities and pupils before making the final decision.

The regulator said the “three-year pause” in tuition costs was made to support parents during the pandemic and recovery period.

It declined to comment further on its decision to allow schools to increase fees.

How much can fees go up by in Abu Dhabi?

  • Schools ranked “outstanding” in inspections have the option to raise fees by up to 3.94 per cent
  • Schools ranked “very good” can increase fees by 3.38 per cent
  • Schools rated “good” can increase fees by up to 2.81 per cent
  • Schools rated “acceptable”, “weak” and “very weak” can implement a maximum 2.25 per cent increase

As well as 11 schools receiving an "outstanding" score, 37 were rated "very good" and 85 were rated good.

Another 63 schools were rated acceptable and one school was rated weak.

Which Abu Dhabi schools can raise fees by the most?

Schools receiving the highest rating of “outstanding” are said to have substantially exceeded expectations under the assessment criteria and are eligible to raise fees by the maximum 3.94 per cent.

These eleven schools received this top rating in the most recent inspections.

  • Al Muna Primary School
  • Al Yasmina School
  • Bloom Academy Al Ain
  • Brighton College Abu Dhabi
  • Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi
  • Merryland International School
  • Pearl Primary School
  • Raha International School
  • Repton Foundation School
  • The British International School
  • The British School Al Khubairat

Dubai tuition fees

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 last month, saying operational costs and the economic situation in the emirate were factors in the decision.

The regulator said only schools which maintain or improve inspection ratings would be allowed to increase fees.

“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 KHDA said.

“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.”

How much can Dubai schools raise fees by?

  • 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.

Dubai school inspection results

Twenty Dubai schools were rated outstanding in the latest round of school inspections by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

The figures, which were released earlier this month by the KHDA, showed 199 schools were inspected.

There were 25 schools that improved their performance from the previous inspection in 2019.

What about non-profit schools?

A number of non-profit schools were able to raise fees during the current academic year, despite the freeze being in place elsewhere.

At least four non-profit schools in Dubai planned to increase charges by between 5 per cent and 8, The National reported in June.

Only a handful of schools in the country are non-profit, meaning that they are governed by an independent board and reinvest any profits they earn into the school.

Fiona McKenzie, head of Carfax Education UAE, said non-profit schools have more autonomy in setting their fees than their for-profit counterparts.

“Non-profit schools are set up quite differently from for-profit schools — they're much older, they were quite often set up by kind of a royal charter and maybe had been gifted the land (the school was built on),” Ms McKenzie told The National previously.

“They were given kind of an assurance of independence when they were set up. So therefore, they don't fall under the kind of fee restrictions that the for-profit schools do.

“Non-profit schools can increase their fees when they feel that they need to, whereas the for-profit schools come under KHDA regulations.”

Updated: April 14, 2023, 10:25 AM