Eighty per cent of schools in Dubai have updated their fees, with some reducing rates by as much as 15 per cent, according to a new survey on education's financial trends.
The report by Middle East education analysts Edarabia reveals Nad Al Sheba, Jumeirah Village Circle, and Al Sufouh are the top three areas where school fees are most expensive, with average annual fees of up to Dh65,152 for all year groups.
The lowest school fees were located in Deira, Al Qusais, Muhaisnah and Al Karama, averaging Dh12,761 per year. Compared to Edarabia’s findings in 2017, the new report indicates that 8 out of 10 schools have revised their fees this school year by up to 10 to 15 per cent in some cases.
There are 185 private schools in Dubai with a total of 273,599 students. Out of these, 32,103 are Emirati students and 15,099 are students with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.
Most schools with a UK curriculum were found to have an “outstanding” or “very good” rating, while lying at the other end of the spectrum with more “weak” rated schools are those offering Indian curriculum.
The report shows that a majority of private schools now operate a level of provision for students with SEND at 61 per cent, which suggests that schools are a good place for uniting the community.
In February, it was reported that Dubai’s private schools are either reducing rates or freezing fees in a bid to stand out in an ultra-competitive market and retain the best students.
Companies revising education packages offered to expatriate workers may also be starting to bite, driving down school fees.
Earlier this year, Fiona McKenzie, director of Dubai-based educational consultants Gabbitas Middle East, said the changes will help to ‘re-calibrate’ the market.
“I think the expat salary packages have changed and for a lot of them school fees are now included in their salary, so parents are making the decision for themselves,” she said.
However, the report also pointed out that rents are falling across the areas where the fees are most expensive. "The average rent for a four-bedroom villa in Nad Al Sheba fell by 15.7 per cent and in JVC, the cost of a three-bed villa fell by 20.7 per cent. Some areas where school fees are the lowest, such as Karama, saw rents remain stable. For example, the average cost of a two-bed apartment in Al Karama remained at AED 95,101," it said.
Figures were compiled in collaboration with Bayut.com.
According to HSBC bank, Dubai lies second on a global list of expensive school fees, lagging only behind Hong Kong.
Figures from the bank’s Value of Education series published in July show total school fees for children from primary to university in the emirate costs $99,378, compared with $132,161 in Hong Kong.