Education sector in UAE is always ripe with discussion and of late its approved school fee hikes. At the beginning of February, The Dubai Executive Council allowed private schools to increase fees for academic year 2014-15, capping them between 5 to 7 percent.

While some schools may be breathing a sigh of relief at the news, our latest survey revealed that over 78% of parents disagree with this fee hike.

The survey carried out by us questioned parents about the current educational environment in the UAE with more than 650 parents participating. Most respondents were parents of either one or two children and majority of them were already aware of Dubai Executive Council’s decision. As anticipated, over 78% of parents disagreed with further rise in tuition fees. This is understandable considering that 91% of parents surveyed thought the fees were already high and that an increase would bring some serious thoughts to the funds spent on the education of their kids.

An alarming outcome for schools based on the poll was that 45%% of parents would consider changing their child’s current school if fess were raised. The increase in fees could cause changes in the financial circumstances of many families and quite some disruption to their child’s education. Approximately 33% would consider the change only if the increase was significant enough to disrupt their finances and put them in a difficult position. Such results could indicate concerns over the increasing cost of living in the UAE.

When it comes to standard of education offered by UAE schools, over 76% of parents claimed that the standard of education does not match the fees they are being asked to pay with 61% of them rating the education level only as average.

The Education Cost Index (ECI) determines percentage increase in fees. As reported by ‘The National’, ECI measures average operating cost of a school and is calculated at 1.74% for 2014-15 academic year. This means, after inspections by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau, schools rated as “outstanding” can increase fees by 3.48%. Schools rated “good” can increase by 2.61% and any rating below can increase fees by 1.74%. The fact remains, that these increases are still below the cap set by Dubai Executive Council but are needed to help sustain the operations of schools.

If we take an example of an outstanding school with average fees of AED 65,000 a year, a 3.48% increase in fees per year would set back parents AED 2,262 per year per child and with 3 children that comes to 6,786 a year – and that is only for one year. For that reason, carefully compare fees and KHDA ratings of schools in the UAE before selecting a school for your child.
As our survey suggests, there is a gap between what parents believe the level of standard should be for the price and what schools are charging as tuition fees. With the government taking the necessary steps to cap school fees, many UAE parents are very much concerned about fee increases and how it will affect them financially.

source: yahoo new