High cost of tuition fees among the main concerns for parents in Dubai

With annual fees of more than Dh40,000 per child for primary school children and double that amount for secondary schools many parents face a dilemma on whether to continue their child’s education in the UAE.

DUBAI // The high cost of tuition fees and finding ways to improving how Arabic is taught are among the main concerns for parents with children attending schools in Dubai.

With annual fees of more than Dh40,000 per child for primary school children and double that amount for secondary schools many parents face a dilemma on whether to continue their child’s education in the UAE.

“I think the way that Arabic is taught could be better because it is done in a way that makes it very difficult for the children to be able to learn two languages,” said a mother of two from Lebanon, who asked not to be named.

Overall, she said was happy with the quality of education her two children, aged nine and seven, had received at Jumeirah Primary School but had some concerns.

The way Arabic is taught in schools is based on the UAE’s national curriculum, which she said was perhaps too difficult for younger children to grasp.

“The school they go to is a British school but if you compare how languages are taught in French schools there is a big difference,” said the mother, who runs a business with her husband in Dubai.

“They end up leaving with three languages because they also learn English.”

The high cost of tuition fees is another cause for concern.

“We’re paying around Dh85,000 for our two children and it’s a lot of money,” she said. “The fees are similar to boarding schools but that is not something we are looking at doing.

“It’s the way the system is in the UAE and you just have to live with it.”

Fees for British secondary schools range from Dh80,000 per child but for American schools it is closer to Dh100,000.

“I know many families leave when their children get to secondary school age but we will probably stay,” said the mother. “We’ve been here for 12 years and have our own business here so this is very much our home.”

A British parent of a four-year-old child who attends nursery, but did not wish to be identified, said the cost of education was her biggest concern. However, she said she understands that sometimes parents ask for more facilities at schools, which must then be funded through increased tuition fees.

“We were paying about Dh36,000 a year when my daughter was in nursery for four hours a day and I think that is overpriced for what you get,” said the mum. “Having said that, my personal experience has been very good.”

A further concern is that fees get even higher when children begin secondary schools in Dubai.

“I’m also concerned at the high cost of fees, particularly for secondary schools, which seem to be a bit mixed in terms of quality,” she said. “I have friends who pay upwards of Dh60,000 in fees each year.

“I’m not too sure what can be done about that to be honest, many people leave when their children reach secondary school age and that is something we may have to consider as well.”

She said it was only natural for parents to want to send their children to the best school they possibly could, which means paying the going rate and living with the increased financial burden.

“To be honest though, I think that the high fees are only an issue for people who are self-employed like myself, as most employers include school tuition in their salary packages. I’m not sure there is that much that can be done as we don’t pay tax here like in the UK so you have to go private.”

nhanif@thenational.ae

Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM

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