If schools still believe there is such a thing as an 'expat package', then the WSA School Survey should go a long, long way to dispelling the myth. It exists (in Abu Dhabi more than Dubai or Sharjah), but it is fast going the way of the Dodo.
Some facts: 62% of respondents get no help at all from their company, 24% of respondents get a contribution from their company, just a lucky few - 13% - get their school fees paid.
Educators told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com this will come as a shock in many educational establishments within the UAE, where there is the assumption that parents get their fees paid. This we were told is simply because teachers, and the management of the school, do not pay, and therefore think a company covering educational costs is the norm.
This is clearly not the case.
Exact figures vary slightly depending upon the emirate. If you are employed in Abu Dhabi you have most chance of being one of the lucky minority. In total 14% of Abu Dhabi families get their school fees paid, with another 27% getting a contribution from their company. In Dubai, the figure drops to 12% getting full payment, and 23% getting a partial contribution. Sharjah is the least generous of the emirates, with 13% getting full payment, but only 21% getting a partial contribution.
There is also a significant variation by curriculum.
Families sending their children to Indian curriculum schools are the least likely to have company help. This partially explains why Indian curriculum families are the least likely to recommend their chosen school. Perhaps unsurprisingly, having your fees paid by your company makes you see a school in a very different light. Some 68% of respondents who have their fees paid by their company would recommend their child's school, a figure that drops to 58% for parents paying the fees themselves.
Note: It will not of course all be about perception. If your company is paying your school fees, the chances are it will have secured debentures, or have an arrangement with one of the higher performing schools in the Emirates. Even if is is not the case, the higher the contribution, the higher performing school a parent is likely to be able to afford.