Parent Survey 2019: UAE Schools Better Value

Data collected during the 12 months of 2019, show parents “totally agreeing” with the statement that that their school offers value for money is at the highest point since we began collecting this data in 2015.
Parent Survey 2019: UAE Schools Better Value
By David Westley
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UAE schools continue to improve on one of the key concerns for parents: Value for money. Data collected during the 12 months of 2019, show parents “totally agreeing” with the statement that that their school offers value for money is at the highest point since we began collecting this data in 2015.

One in two parents now say they in total agreement that their school represents good value, up two points on 2018 and 2017 (with both at 48%). However a degree of polarisation seems to be happening with an equal rise in the number of parents totally disagreeing with the statement their schools offers value (rising from 13% to 15% of respondents). It will be interesting to see if this polarisation becomes a trend in 2020.

This year, respondents from Abu Dhabi are the least likely to say their school offers value for money, with just over 4 in 10 totally satisfied with their school’s value offering. Sharjah parents are the happiest of the three emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, with 49% of parents saying they totally agree their school is good value.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, value-fee based schools performed the most strongly when it comes to perceptions of value. However, premium-fee schools perform better the mid-fee range schools. As we noted last year, many of the most expensive schools have very high ratings for value - so price, while indicative of value, is not the whole story. (The performance of the school (particularly academically), is as good an indicator of whether a parent will consider their child’s school good value.)

How much do you agree to the statement: I think the fees I pay represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering. Dubai Abu Dhabi Sharjah
Totally Agree 46 41 49
Totally Disagree 15 17 17
Partially agree 39 42 34
How much do you agree to the statement: I think the fees I pay represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering. Value-fee Schools Mid-fee  Schools Premium-fee Schools
Totally Agree 55 47 48
Totally Disagree 14 18 15
Partially agree 31 35 37

Indian curriculum schools performed most strongly in 2019 in terms of value delivery, followed by UK, then IB and finally US schools. This is a switch from 2018, when UK schools led the pack. UK schools performed as well as last year (falling just one point from 52 to 51% of respondents in total agreement their school offers good value), but Indian schools have seen a sharp rise in perceptions of value (jumping from 45 to 61%).

US and IB schools have also improved significantly on last year, rising from 31% to 42% and from 35% to 44% respectively.

How much do you agree to the statement: I think the fees I pay represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering. UK Schools 2019 IB Schools 2019 US Schools 2019 Indian Schools 2019
Totally Agree 51 44 42 61
Totally Disagree 15 17 19 9
Partially agree 34 39 39 30

Finally, internationally, the UAE can be said to have the most parents either in full or partial agreement their school offers good value - compared to Singapore and Hong Kong. However Singapore has a more polarised market, with higher numbers of parents totally agreeing (60%), or completely disagreeing (24%) that their school offers good value. Hong Kong clearly is the most challenged market in terms of delivering value for parents, with 29% of its parents completely disagreeing their schools offers Good Value.

How much do you agree to the statement: I think the fees I pay represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering. Dubai Singapore HK
Totally Agree 50 60 43
Totally Disagree 15 24 29
Partially agree 35 16 28

As with last year, parents looking for value, as opposed to just low fees, need to take a 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. Equally, lower fees, can result in schools that disappoint. This seems especially the case in the mid-fee range.

Parents looking for a school for their children should also note that these are just broad brush strokes to help your initial navigation through UAE schools. 'Rules' are made to be broken, and there will be mid fee range, US schools that are seen to deliver high levels of value - despite statistically being the least likely to according to our survey. So, if you are currently choosing a school, or just interested in how your school compares to its peers, click on the Parent Opinion tab on any school review to see data specifically for it.

Note: 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.

Also from the Parent Survey 2019
UAE tops Singapore and Hong Kong for International Schools
What Parents Look For When Choosing a School

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