Dubai School Fee Trends

An in-depth report on Dubai school fee trends over the past six years looking at curriculum, area and school type. How have fees changed, and what has driven those changes...

It is perhaps understandable that one of the most consistent complaints from parents is school fees.

Often parents, and indeed the businesses that run schools, do not always grasp is that it is often less the fees and more changes to fees that trigger complaints.

It is why complaints reach fever pitch when the Dubai Statistics office announces the Education Cost Index, which school fee increases are based on.

Over the last few years Dubai school fees have been increasing year on year. That in itself is unsurprising. Prices are rising across the UAE as a whole, and therefore school costs are on the up. In order to balance their books, schools need to increase fees to maintain margin, and just to prevent going into debt.

Dubai School Fees Over Time

The table below shows the average annual Dubai school fees over time and the percentage change from the previous year.

Average Dubai School Fees Over Time
YearNo. of SchoolsAvg. Annual FeeECIActual School Inflation Rate
2012/13128AED 24,5413%No data
2013/14134AED 26,673-1%8.69%
2014/15142AED 28,9781.74%8.64%
2015/16146AED 31,0572.92%7.17%
2016/17161AED 33,8993.21%9.15%
2017/18173AED 34,8592.4%2.83%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Over the last six years the average annual fee for all schools in Dubai has increased by 42% percent, with the sharpest rise in 2016/17. As a mean school fees in Dubai have risen by 7.296%, significantly above the Educational Cost Index.

The ECI, the figure that schools are able to increase fees during this period, has been 2.045%. The ECI was at its higest rate in 2016/17 at 3.21%.

Schools that achieve a KHDA inspection rating of Good, Very Good or Outstanding are permitted to increase their fees above the ECI rate. The table below shows the exact ECI ratio for each inspection rating.

ECI Ratio by Inspection Rating
OutstandingECI x 2
Very GoodECI x 1.75
GoodECI x 1.5
Very WeakECI
ECI data from Dubai Statistics.

The increase in fees above the ECI is not driven by above sanctioned increases however but by the arrival of new schools.

The arrival of new schools can either push up average fees, or push them down depending upon whether the new schools demand higher fees than average, or lower fees.

We can see from these statistics, that new schools coming into Dubai have largely been at the premium end, asking for fees above the Dubai average.

Note, also pushing fees up will be investments by existing schools, which also allows above ECI increases. This is usually a handful of schools each year however and therefore will have a marginal effect on the average.

The table below shows the average fees charged by new schools for the past six years.

New Schools - Fees By Opening Year
Opening YearNo. New SchoolsAverage Annual Fee
20124AED 28,782
20139AED 40,693
201410AED 46,211
20157AED 49,798
201613AED 55,700
201711AED 40,733
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

As we can see the average rose sharply from 2012 to 2015, but has begun to moderate. 2017 in particular saw the entry really for the first time in 5 years, a slew of more competitively priced schools.

Dubai School Fees By Area

The fees schools charge vary greatly across Dubai , but the most expensive area in terms of school fees is Sobha Hartland, while Al Rashidiya offers the most value. The full list can be found below.

Note, we show the number of schools next to the area. Premium new developments are likely to top this list simply because the developer will attract/build a school to attract the desired demographic. If that is an ABC1 demographic, so the area will build premium schools. In the case of Sobha Hartland, that means the North London Collegiate School Dubai, and Hartland School - both top-tier new entries to the Dubai education landscape.

Dubai School Fees by Area
AreaNo. of SchoolsAverage Fee 2017/18Change From Previous Year
Sobha Hartland2AED 85,35832.03%
Dubai Healthcare City Phase 21AED 84,7310.06%
Jumeirah Park1AED 69,000No data
Umm Suqeim 21AED 66,3410.67%
Meydan1AED 66,273No data
The Greens1AED 64,0993.6%
Festival City2AED 60,6203.76%
Nad al Sheba6AED 59,487No data
Al Sufouh4AED 59,45719.83%
Arabian Ranches2AED 58,4101.63%
Jumeirah Village Triangle2AED 57,638No data
Dubai Sports City2AED 55,3861.33%
Emirates Hills2AED 55,0550.44%
Umm Suqeim5AED 54,6873.47%
The Villa1AED 53,4403.3%
Damac Hills (Akoya)1AED 51,7688.81%
Al Barsha13AED 50,7350.07%
Umm Sheif1AED 49,841No data
Motor City2AED 49,455No data
The Meadows1AED 47,741No data
Mirdif5AED 47,4061.08%
Dubai Investments Park7AED 44,0095.65%
Al Safa8AED 43,7839.36%
Dubai Academic City4AED 43,5193.36%
Al Khail5AED 42,095No data
Al Barsha South6AED 40,367No data
Jumeirah 12AED 39,8750.11%
Dubai Silicon Oasis2AED 35,2425.67%
Al Mankhool1AED 29,399No data
Al Wasl4AED 29,3723.08%
Al Quoz12AED 28,3748.18%
Al Barsha 12AED 27,4453.6%
Al Twar 31AED 24,826No data
Mankhool1AED 24,076No data
Al Twar3AED 23,8652.28%
Al Mamzar1AED 22,9742.27%
Al Mizhar5AED 21,51520.04%
Al Nahda6AED 21,0721.62%
Oud Metha9AED 21,0575.07%
Knowledge Village1AED 20,590No data
Muhaisna 12AED 18,4473.27%
Hor Al Anz1AED 17,9773.6%
Al Warqa6AED 17,68012.98%
Nad Al Hamar1AED 16,3142.4%
Jebel Ali2AED 15,6943.21%
Al Muhaisnah6AED 15,5543.3%
Al Qusais17AED 15,45910.12%
Bur Dubai1AED 11,896No data
Garhoud10AED 11,3862.49%
Muhasinah2AED 11,304No data
Al Waheda2AED 10,5832.85%
Al Rashidiya2AED 7,5713.85%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Areas where school fees have remained most stable are Knowledge Village, Bur Dubai and Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2. Those that have seen the biggest gains are Sobha Hartland, Al Mizhar and Al Sufouh.

Dubai School Fees By Curriculum

Fees are equally very dependent upon curriculum, with the IB CP curriculum having the highest fees, 738% more than those schools following a Philippines curriculum.

Schools following the CBSE curriculum have had the biggest increases over the last six years, schools following Common Core the least.

Dubai School Fees by Curriculum
CurriculumNo. of SchoolsAverage Fee 2017/18Change From Previous YearMost Expensive School
A Level33AED 38,4172.21%Dubai College
AP4AED 58,0402.27%American School of Dubai
AS Level22AED 42,9042.47%Dubai College
BTEC12AED 57,0750.08%Dubai English Speaking College
CBSE29AED 11,9773.97%GEMS New Millennium School
CISCE4AED 29,468No dataGEMS Modern Academy
Canadian1AED 51,875No dataBritish Columbia Canadian School
Common Core6AED 35,3300.99%GEMS United School Sports City
DELF3AED 29,6355.36%Raffles International School - West
EYFS49AED 40,554No dataForemarke School
French7AED 40,8675.14%International Concept for Education
GCSE30AED 47,8092.41%Dubai College
German1AED 52,0535.24%German International School Dubai
IB22AED 63,0641.89%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB CP5AED 65,3091.72%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB DP21AED 62,9882.52%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB MYP10AED 65,2731.08%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB PYP12AED 64,4911.45%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IGCSE24AED 36,0822.43%Repton School Dubai
Iranian3AED 10,51511.48%Towheed Iranian Boys School
Japanese1AED 20,700No dataJapanese School Dubai
Montessori3AED 27,8022.25%Raffles International School - West
Philippines2AED 7,7976.4%The Philippine School
SABIS3AED 30,3745.53%The International School of Choueifat DIP
SAT5AED 38,6812.09%GEMS United School Sports City
Specialist SEN3AED 48,36214.99%Modern Alternative Education
UAE MoE15AED 15,8692.65%North American International School
UK National Curriculum63AED 44,036No dataRepton School Dubai
US HS Diploma30AED 33,2493.01%American School of Dubai
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Dubai School Fee Increases

The schools which have had the biggest increase in fees in 2017/18 were:

Dubai School Fee Increases Past Year
SchoolAreaAverage Fee 2017/18Increase From Previous Year
Al Ittihad Private School JumeirahAl SafaAED 30,78337.04%
Al Diyafah High SchoolAl QusaisAED 14,13931.58%
Towheed Iranian Boys SchoolAl QuozAED 15,71426.62%
GEMS Al Barsha National SchoolAl BarshaAED 51,15322.96%
Indian International SchoolDubai Silicon OasisAED 11,19514.23%
GEMS Winchester School, DubaiOud MethaAED 15,28813.96%
Indian High School DubaiGarhoudAED 7,75110%
International School of Arts and SciencesAl WarqaAED 28,1719.28%
Jebel Ali SchoolDamac Hills (Akoya)AED 51,7688.81%
United International Private SchoolAl MuhaisnahAED 7,3007.94%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Over the last three years the list looks like this (we exclude any school opening in this time)

Dubai School Fee Increases Over 3 Years
SchoolAreaAverage Fee 2017/18Increase Over 3 Years
Al Ameen SchoolAl NahdaAED 10,18395.02%
New Indian Model SchoolGarhoudAED 4,88146.37%
Capital SchoolAl NahdaAED 48,00045.45%
Al Diyafah High SchoolAl QusaisAED 14,13943.95%
The Westminster School DubaiAl QusaisAED 10,82240.59%
Central School DubaiAl NahdaAED 4,67339.04%
Towheed Iranian Boys SchoolAl QuozAED 15,71437.53%
Al Salam Private SchoolAl NahdaAED 21,40633.56%
Jebel Ali SchoolDamac Hills (Akoya)AED 51,76829.66%
GEMS Winchester School, DubaiOud MethaAED 15,28827.43%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Over the last five years the list looks like this

Dubai School Fee Increases Over 5 Years
SchoolAreaAverage Fee 2017/18Increase Over 5 Years
Al Ameen SchoolAl NahdaAED 10,183100.11%
Buds Public SchoolMuhasinahAED 11,30459.53%
Indian High School Al GarhoudGarhoudAED 5,33250.5%
Indian High School DubaiGarhoudAED 7,75150.49%
New Indian Model SchoolGarhoudAED 4,88148.91%
Al Diyafah High SchoolAl QusaisAED 14,13947.71%
Uptown SchoolMirdifAED 72,95645.91%
Lycee Francais International Prive de Dubai (AFLEC)Oud MethaAED 37,11643.37%
The Westminster School DubaiAl QusaisAED 10,82243.04%
Al Salam Private SchoolAl NahdaAED 21,40642.82%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Non-profit vs For-profit School Fee Increases

Parents like not-for-profit schools because in theory there is no profit.

However that does not mean Not for Profit schools do not like to spend money, they do, it just goes to different places. These may be new facilities, new buildings, teacher salaries, teacher retention strategies, teacher training - and so on. Not for profits tend to have the lowest teacher turnover rates in the UAE. They are also for the most part some of the highest rated schools in the UAE.

That does come at a significant cost however. The average cost of a Not for Profit is higher than the average, and they too like to raise their fees.

Not for profit schools have seen average fees rise by 5% for the 2017/18 academic year and by 33.4% over the last five years.

Not-for-profit School Fee Increases Over 5 Years
SchoolAverage Fee 2017/18Increase From Prev YearIncrease Over 5 Years
Dubai CollegeAED 83,8644%26.39%
Dubai English Speaking CollegeAED 79,4454.8%25.99%
American School of DubaiAED 78,5223.4%28.07%
Jumeirah English Speaking School Arabian RanchesAED 64,3203%24.24%
Jebel Ali SchoolAED 51,7688.81%42.62%
Jumeirah English Speaking SchoolAED 47,0843%26.28%
Dubai English Speaking SchoolAED 43,7386.5%27.29%
Lycee Francais International Prive de Dubai (AFLEC)AED 37,1163.6%43.37%
St. Mary Catholic High School Dubai-Al MuhaisnahAED 13,4552.71%No data
St. Mary's Catholic High SchoolAED 8,7455%39.39%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

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