UAE Parents Stumble Over Pricey School Trips

UAE Parents Stumble Over Pricey School Trips
By David Westley
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.

According to a poll over 1 in 2 respondents have difficulties in paying for school trips.

More specifically 58% of respondents said they always have difficulties in paying, 12% sometimes have difficulties, while just under one-third of respondents have no issues whatsoever.

The findings are even stronger than a similar survey conducted in the United Kingdom where one-third of respondents said that the cost of sending children on educational visits was "too expensive" and caused financial hardship.

One reason for the difference may be that respondents in the United Kingdom do not also have to pay school fees, which alleviates some stress on family budgets (although there is tax to pay...). School trips in the UAE, especially those organised by premium tier schools, can also involve international visits to premium destinations, and require the payment of multiple staff who oversee them.

Parents in the United Kingdom face average annual bills of £800 per pupil (4,500 AED) for school trips and school uniforms. Depending on the school, UAE parents face similar - if not sharper - bills.

"I have just paid 1,500 AED for three night trip to Oman for my daughter next week. That is not unreasonable," Norman, a parent at an IB school told "However, the ski trip which the school organises comes in around 12,000 AED and that's a disgrace!"

"My question is, why can't kids from the UAE stay in hostels rather than 4/5 star hotels?"

"It all comes across as a bit of a jolly for the teachers."

Speaking to many parents say they find it difficult to say no to their children, or
the school, even when budgets are stretched. "The children feel incredible peer pressure, Sally, a parent at a Dubai based UK curriculum school said. "It is difficult not to get caught up in this."

"Schools sometimes incorporate sales pitches for school trips in parent meetings, which is sharp practice and which is not acceptable, Norman added. "Parents can, of course, say no to all of this, but the reality is this is not always so easy..."


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