Parents can breathe a sigh of relief regarding education costs for the foreseeable future following a decision by authorities to cap school fee hikes between 5-7 per cent.
The Dubai Executive Council  issued a decision on Sunday to cap school fees for 2014-2015 between 5-7 per cent depending on a school’s performance.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority said the fees projected for this year will fall well below the cap.
The cap will be implemented at a time when the education index records high costs.
The Dubai Executive Council said the move is a continuation of the current evaluation applied by the KHDA in its annual assessment of increases in school fees, which are reliant on school performance.
The decision aims to achieve social and economic goals reflected in the provision of education fees that are acceptable to students and parents.
The decision also aims at capping unjustified increases in school fees and providing competitive rates of profitability in the education sector to ensure profitability and sustainability of the current private schools. These schools are also to attract new investors where they will be encouraged through giving them a better rate of profit in comparison to other schools with weak or moderate performance.
In response to the Dubai Executive Council’s announcement, the KHDA said it “notified private schools in Dubai today with the index cost of standard education received from the Dubai Statistics Centre for the academic year 2014 to 2015, which is 1.74 per cent”.
KHDA said schools should communicate with the authority with regard to any fee adjustments to tuition fees following the announcement of the inspection results, as these results are what determine by how much schools can increase their fees.
According to the framework, schools that are found to be in the ‘outstanding’ category are entitled to a 3.48 per cent raise. Those in the ‘good’ category are entitled to a 2.61 per cent while those in the ‘acceptable’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ category are entitled to a 1.74 per cent increase.
The KHDA said the framework is a link between the quality of education and the cost of education index, which has been implemented for the third consecutive year to regulate school fees.
Priyanka Khare, a Dubai resident, has already received a circular on the fee hike from the school her child goes to. “My child goes to Grade 3. I pay Dh1,800 per month in school fees. I do not mind the 6 to 7 per cent hike in school fees but I am not satisfied with the school management. Their services are very poor.”
Ashraf Adeli, another Dubai resident, has two school-going children and he is against the fee hike. “Fees are paid quarterly in the school attended by my children. I pay Dh4,000 for my daughter who is in Grade 7 and Dh3,700 for my son who is in KG1. If the schools are bringing in a hike in tuition fees their should have some value added commitment. In my opinion what the school is making in fees is not directly proportional to the teacher’s salaries.”
L. Grover, a Sharjah resident, pays Dh3,200 in monthly fees. He said: “In addition to this I pay Dh500 for the school bus. If the school fees are increased I will have to see whether or not I have the budget to pay . There is hardly any visible hike in our salaries. Having said that, if my child is happy in the school, I will end up paying the hiked fee. My child’s convenience and happiness matter to me.”