Don't Blame Schools for Tighter Family Budgets

School fees are not taking up any more of UAE household budgets than they have in the past. UAE consumers need to look elsewhere for the reasons if money feels harder to come by.
Don't Blame Schools for Tighter Family Budgets
By David Westley
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If parents truly value quality, want more experienced teachers, better facilities and exam results, they should not necessarily be happy that, in Dubai, school fees have been frozen. As a proportion of family budgets, school fees are no larger than than in the past, despite the ongoing public outcry over school fees in the emirates.

2019 will actually see a small decrease in the percentage fees eat into household income in Dubai, given its freeze on fees for the academic year.

In 2018 fees stood by and large steady. In total 54% of respondents said they spend 15% or less of their household income, a very small decrease from 56% in 2017 - the same percentage in 2015. 

If we compare by curricula, 56% of respondents from UK curriculum pay 15% or less of their household income (up from 50% in 2017); 51% of respondents from US curriculum schools (up from 49% in 2017); 55% of respondents from IB schools (up from 45% in 2017); and 60% of respondents from Indian curriculum schools (down from 64% in 2017).

With the (highly subjective) assumption 15% as an acceptable proportion of a family's budget, then there are more families sending their children in UK, US and IB schools on the right side of that line this year than last. There are however 4% more Indian families on the wrong side of that line.

Clearly the financial stresses of UAE families is not linked specifically to school fees, but as one of the largest costs they are clearly always going to be in the firing line. Parents should understand however that as one of the largest proponents of quality, they cannot squeeze schools too far. All those things parents choose a school for - teaching, facilities, results - come at a cost too - and often good value from schools actually comes from higher school fees, even if that sounds counter intuitive.

Note: If you are currently choosing a school, or interested in how your school compares to its peers, simply click on the Parent Opinion tab on your school review. If there is no Parent Opinion tab it is simply because your school has yet to have sufficient completed surveys. You can take the survey here.

Survey Index
UK Schools Beat US, IB, Indian Schools for Value
Don't Blame Schools for Tighter Family Budgets
Bullying Most Prevalent in Indian, US Schools
UAE Schools: A for Academic Performance
3 in 4 Parents Would Recommend Child's School
Student Churn Tied to Quality, Not Fees, Choice
Happiness, Exam Results Drive School Choice
UAE Schools Better than in Home Country
Over 4/5 UAE Students Look Forward to School
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