Forty schools allowed to increase their fees

Fees will rise by an average of 6.6 per cent in the coming academic year.

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ABU DHABI // Forty private schools have been told they may raise fees by an average of 6.6 per cent in the coming academic year.

Officials at Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) said factors such as past fee increases, improvements in facilities and financial records of schools were taken into account. Very high fee requests were rejected.

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"The council's review evaluates the services provided by the school and the quality of its education," said Yousif Al Sheryani, the executive director of Adec's private schools and quality assurance sector. "We consider the provision of a high-quality, affordable private education as one of the top priorities."

The council received fee increase requests from 60 schools looking to raise the cost of tuition, uniforms, books and transport. The proposed increases ranged between 5 and 371 per cent.

Transport fees in schools will go up by an average of 12.3 per cent, and book costs will rise by 5.3 per cent at approved schools.

Some parents said fee increases were becoming too regular.

"If it happens after a long period of time, it seems justifiable," said the mother of a boy at The International School of Choueifat. "But every year the school has seen some sort of increase and that just does not seem fair."

She said there had been a rise in tuition, books and transport. "I've had to pay around 15 per cent more for the next year."

Raha International School requested a fee rise but was refused. Wayne MacInnis, the principal of the school, said he asked for an increase to cover staff-related costs.

"It is going to restrict some plans for development but we will still continue to offer high-quality education," Mr MacInnes said.

Mr Al Sheryani said penalties would be handed to schools that raise fees without permission.