If you think that schools in the UAE do not offer value for money, then, please note, you are in a very small minority of parents. What's more, finding someone to agree with you is getting more difficult with each year that passes.
The number of respondents that say that schools in the UAE offer good value for money has now remained at 48% for two years in a row. However the number of respondents that partially agree schools offer good value has increased from 37% to 41%. That leaves just 11% of respondents, or just over one person in ten, believing UAE schools do not offer good value, to any degree.
In 2015, 36% of parents agreed with the statement schools offer good value for money, and 41% partially agreed. A sizable 21% of respondents - that's twice as many as today - could not see value. Schools in the UAE have clearly done an excellent job since our first School Survey of winning parents over.
That schools have managed to strengthen perceptions of value over the last 24 months comes against considerable headwinds of rising costs, and anemic growth in salaries in the wider economy. School fees remain one of the biggest concerns for families in the UAE. That is one why, in Dubai, the emirate's executive council ruled no fee rises would be approved for 2018-2019.
That said, low fees do not correlate to perceptions of higher value. It's the blend of offering with the level of fee that matters. Schools can be "premium" and still be considered great value. Dubai English Speaking College is a great of example of this. The UAE's ninth most expensive school with average fees of 79,500 AED, has no parents - according to our survey - that do not at least partially agree with the statement that the school offers great value. Eighty-six percent of respondents wholly agree it does so against a UAE average of 43%. Dubai College, JESS Arabian Ranches, and Nord Anglia Dubai would also be great examples.
In fact high performance and attainment seem to be better predictors of higher perceptions of value than lower pricing.
UK schools are by far the best performers when it comes to delivering value, followed by Indian curriculum schools, then IB schools and finally US based schools. IB schools tend to be newer and more expensive, which perhaps explains why they have the highest number of parents, proportionately, that partially agree their schools offer great value. Indian schools have the highest number of parents who completely disagree their school offers great value, BUT also the second highest number that their school offers great value. Indian schools are the most affordable schools, on average, in the UAE. UK and IB schools the most expensive.
The gap between UK based and US schools is significant with 21% more parents going to UK based schools saying their school offers great value, compared to parents going to US based schools.
Overall parents looking for value, as opposed to just low fees, need to take a more holistic view when assessing where to send their children. UAE schools seem seem to be able to stretch higher fees into an offering that does more than just satisfy but often exceeds expectations.
Low fees, conversely, often result in schools that too often just disappoint.
Finally, this is not altruism from schools but just good business sense. Our survey shows that lower student churn is highly correlated with higher perceptions of value, and in a highly competitive market for students, the economics of keeping a student are considerably better than those involved with their recruitment.
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.
UK Schools Beat US, IB, Indian Schools for Value
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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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