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No Increase in School Fees in 2013/14, Unless…

No Increase in School Fees in 2013/14, Unless…

The headline news is that private schools in Dubai will not be able to raise fees this academic year (2013-2014) according to the KHDA. However, as always there are exceptions.

The exceptions are:

If your children go to a Good or Outstanding not-for-profit or embassy school, that school may apply for a fee increase.

If your children go to a Good or Outstanding for-profit school that has made an investment into its offering, again that school may apply for an increase. 

For the latter, the application needs to be backed up by evidence of additions to existing buildings; improved educational facilities such as laboratories and libraries; investment in property in order to expand; renovate, demolish or rebuild existing buildings or floors; the building of additional branches of an existing school; the relocation to a new building for the benefit of teaching and learning; or if the school has undertaken tangible development that improves the quality of education it offers, including provision for special education needs students.

In theory that means for the majority of parents across the emirate, school fees will be one area that they won’t need to re-budget for as Dubai returns to rude health and price rises begin edging up elsewhere. However, there is no doubt that many schools will be applying for an increase. How accurate the “No Increase in Fees” claim turns out to be will depend very much on how stringent the KHDA is in examining applications.

The decision comes as the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) announced this year’s Educational Cost Index (ECI) to be minus 1 per cent – that is the cost of running schools in the emirate is falling, not rising. The ECI takes into account salaries of school employees, rents, maintenance costs and water and electricity costs — in addition to the consumer price index.

Parents had been braced for the latest wave of KHDA reports. According to the framework set by Dubai’s education regulator, eligibility to increase fees is based on the quality of education provided by the school.


Fees can be increased by 2 times the ECI by an Outstanding school, and 1.5 times by a Good school.

According to Mohammad Darwish, who heads the Regulations and Compliance Commission (RCC) at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the School Fees Framework prioritises the interests of students and parents and encourages investment in the education sector by allowing schools to develop long-term growth plans, as well as motivating existing schools to improve the quality of education they offer.

Some schools have questioned the policy, arguing not being able to increase fees means poorer performing schools cannot invest the funds needed to develop a Good or Outstanding offering.

1 Comment

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  1. Holden S says
    February 27, 2013, 6:27 pm

    This is another example of where Dubai fundamentally gets it right. The UK publishes endlesss league tables but never actually rewards good schools financially. Surely the point of this approach to increasing fees is precisely to reward the best schools and those driven by excellence not profit. My only critique would be that this approach needs to go hand-in-glove with a school management system that also recognises parental hardship in those cases where increases in fees could result in a child potentially having to leave a school (as should already be the case where parents run into financial hardship).


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