Education authorities in Abu Dhabi have announced that four new low-cost schools will open in the emirate by 2021 as part of a drive to widen access to education.
Two existing premises will be expanded as part of the “affordable” schools initiative, a public-private partnership to provide schooling at lower than average fees.
“The aim is to increase the number of affordable private schools in Abu Dhabi and to ensure all residents have access to schools with a high quality of education with reasonable and affordable tuition fees,” an official from the Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) said.
American National Private School will open its doors this year, while the British-curriculum Al Basma Private School will increase its pupil population by opening a second site.
Of the other new schools, one will follow the Ministry of Education curriculum and the other will be Indian.
Many private schools in the UAE start with fees of Dh40,000 per year rising to Dh100,000 for the top ranked half dozen.
School fee contributions from employers have also been reduced in recent years, leaving more parents to foot the bill themselves.
Tuition will cost roughly Dh10,000 for those following the Indian curriculum and about Dh20,000 to Dh30,000 for US and UK schools. The move will increase to 19,500 the pupil capacity at such schools.
Three more schools will open in 2021 and another will be expanded in 2022.
In 2019, Adek opened three affordable private schools in Abu Dhabi – International Community School, Liwa International and Future Leaders International – with a total capacity of 2,700.
In Al Ain, Bhavans Pearl Wisdom School and Beaconhouse Private School offered 1,936 places, while in Al Dhafra, Al Hazem Private School had 720 seats.
Affordable schools have mixed classes and admit pupils from age four to 18. Pupils of all nationalities can be enroled.
When the initiative was launched in 2018, parents welcomed the new model, but said reduced fees should not lead to lower standards of education.