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...
Dubai School Fee Trends
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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
2012/13129AED 24,5173%No change
2013/14138AED 26,295-1%7.25%
2014/15148AED 28,7891.74%9.48%
2015/16153AED 30,8712.92%7.23%
2016/17166AED 33,1433.21%7.36%
2017/18178AED 33,8442.4%2.11%
2018/19190AED 35,7400%5.6%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Over the last seven years the average annual fee for all schools in Dubai has increased by 46% percent, with the sharpest rise in 2014/15. As a mean school fees in Dubai have risen by 6.51%, significantly above the Educational Cost Index.

The ECI, the figure that schools are able to increase fees during this period, has been 1.75%. 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 seven years.

New Schools - Fees By Opening Year
Opening YearNo. New SchoolsAverage Annual Fee
20124AED 27,462
201310AED 47,064
201411AED 47,010
20158AED 49,798
201612AED 49,976
201712AED 39,431
201814AED 55,095
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 Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2, while Al Karama 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 2018/19Change From Previous Year
Dubai Healthcare City Phase 21AED 89,4335.55%
Sobha Hartland2AED 85,358No change
Al Furjan1AED 77,733No change
Jumeirah Park1AED 69,000No change
Al Barari1AED 67,265No change
Meydan1AED 66,273No change
Umm Suqeim 21AED 62,386No change
Festival City2AED 60,620No change
Al Sufouh4AED 59,457No change
The Sustainable City Dubai1AED 59,100No change
Jumeirah Village Triangle2AED 58,910No change
Arabian Ranches2AED 58,409No change
Al Barsha South8AED 57,41442.23%
Dubai Academic City3AED 56,805No change
Nad al Sheba7AED 56,2632.36%
Emirates Hills2AED 56,2402.15%
Umm Suqeim5AED 53,550No change
Al Khail4AED 52,6070.84%
The Villa2AED 52,235No change
Al Barsha13AED 52,114No change
International Media Production Zone1AED 51,950No change
Al Safa7AED 51,9385.25%
Damac Hills (Akoya)1AED 51,768No change
Dubai Sports City3AED 50,480No change
Jumeirah Islands2AED 50,300No change
Motor City2AED 50,2191.55%
Umm Sheif1AED 49,841No change
The Greens1AED 49,259No change
The Meadows1AED 47,741No change
Al Barsha 13AED 47,13071.73%
Mirdif6AED 46,528No change
Remraam1AED 41,120No change
Jumeirah 13AED 39,875No change
Dubai Investments Park6AED 37,157No change
Dubai Silicon Oasis4AED 35,242No change
Dubailand2AED 31,679148.66%
Business Bay1AED 30,000No change
Al Wasl3AED 29,372No change
Al Quoz11AED 29,2503.09%
Al Mankhool1AED 28,764No change
Al Twar 31AED 24,826No change
Al Twar4AED 24,7103.54%
Al Mizhar5AED 23,4418.96%
Al Mamzar1AED 22,974No change
Jumeirah Village Circle1AED 22,473No change
Al Nahda6AED 21,072No change
Oud Metha11AED 21,057No change
Al Warqa9AED 20,666No change
Knowledge Village1AED 20,590No change
Mankhool1AED 19,310No change
Muhaisnah 12AED 18,447No change
Nad Al Hamar1AED 16,314No change
Jebel Ali2AED 15,694No change
Al Muhaisnah7AED 13,991No change
Al Qusais18AED 13,221No change
Bur Dubai1AED 12,4344.52%
Muhasinah2AED 11,304No change
Garhoud11AED 11,2470.76%
Hor Al Anz2AED 11,0973.13%
Al Waheda2AED 9,995No change
Al Rashidiya1AED 6,847No change
Al Karama2AED 3,764No change
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Areas where school fees have remained most stable are Al Nahda, Sobha Hartland and Jumeirah 1. Those that have seen the biggest gains are Dubailand, Al Barsha 1 and Al Barsha South.

Dubai School Fees By Curriculum

Fees are equally very dependent upon curriculum, with the IPC curriculum having the highest fees, 867% more than those schools following a Philippines curriculum.

Schools following the CBSE curriculum have had the biggest increases over the last seven years, schools following CISCE the least.

Dubai School Fees by Curriculum
CurriculumNo. of SchoolsAverage Fee 2018/19Change From Previous YearMost Expensive School
A Level42AED 42,1526.45%Dubai College
ACT1AED 18,00035.34%Global Indian International School Dubai
AERO1AED 63,087No changeUniversal American School
AP8AED 52,3895.41%GEMS United School Sports City
AS Level31AED 44,5298.07%Jumeirah College
BTEC22AED 56,1381.5%Dubai English Speaking College
CBSE30AED 12,3183.42%GEMS New Millennium School
CISCE4AED 28,117No changeGEMS Modern Academy
Common Core20AED 38,6984.41%Dunecrest American School
DELF3AED 30,0251.32%Raffles International School
EYFS71AED 42,5231.22%GEMS World Academy Dubai
French8AED 41,5000.45%International Concept for Education
GCSE33AED 49,4824.77%Dubai College
German1AED 52,053No changeGerman International School Dubai
IB27AED 65,1621.35%North London Collegiate School Dubai
IB CP14AED 66,1012.22%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB DP29AED 63,4472.3%North London Collegiate School Dubai
IB MYP16AED 68,8693.58%North London Collegiate School Dubai
IB PYP18AED 65,3444.15%North London Collegiate School Dubai
IGCSE36AED 40,5460.74%Dubai College
IPC1AED 77,733No changeThe Arbor School
Iranian5AED 8,8270.24%Towheed Iranian Boys School
Japanese1AED 20,700No changeJapanese School Dubai
Montessori5AED 27,68214.5%Raffles International School
NGSS2AED 58,363No changeUniversal American School
Philippines2AED 8,0393.1%The Philippine School Dubai
SABIS3AED 30,374No changeThe International School of Choueifat DIP
SAT6AED 35,414No changeGEMS United School Sports City
Specialist SEN11AED 49,7388.19%Riverston School Dubai
UAE MoE15AED 16,64313.83%Al Mawakeb School Al Khawaneej
UK National Curriculum76AED 45,1203.25%Dubai College
US HS Diploma36AED 34,8324.99%GEMS Dubai American Academy
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Dubai School Fee Increases

The schools which have had the biggest increase in fees in 2018/19 were:

Dubai School Fee Increases Past Year
SchoolAreaAverage Fee 2018/19Increase From Previous Year
Horizon English School DubaiAl SafaAED 52,27942.31%
Global Indian International School DubaiAl Barsha SouthAED 18,00035.34%
GEMS Heritage SchoolDubailandAED 16,69131.01%
Rising SchoolNad al ShebaAED 46,83315.65%
Clarion SchoolAl QuozAED 68,12511.07%
Iranian Khadije Kobra School for GirlsAl KaramaAED 3,7648%
New World School Private DubaiAl TwarAED 14,7207.73%
Dubai Heights AcademyAl BarshaAED 46,6205.88%
The Philippine School DubaiAl MuhaisnahAED 8,7785.83%
Swiss International Scientific School DubaiDubai Healthcare City Phase 2AED 89,4335.55%
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 2018/19Increase Over 3 Years
MSB (Al Ameen) SchoolAl NahdaAED 10,18386.85%
Horizon English School DubaiAl SafaAED 52,27961.64%
Capital SchoolAl NahdaAED 48,00045.45%
New Indian Model SchoolGarhoudAED 4,88142.23%
The Westminster School DubaiAl QusaisAED 11,37238.7%
Al Diyafah High SchoolAl QusaisAED 14,03036.86%
The Central School DubaiAl NahdaAED 4,67335.11%
Al Salam Private SchoolAl NahdaAED 21,40627.96%
Jebel Ali SchoolDamac Hills (Akoya)AED 51,76825.98%
GEMS Winchester School, DubaiOud MethaAED 15,28823.82%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Over the last five years the list looks like this

Dubai School Fee Increases Over 5 Years
SchoolAreaAverage Fee 2018/19Increase Over 5 Years
MSB (Al Ameen) SchoolAl NahdaAED 10,183100.11%
Horizon English School DubaiAl SafaAED 52,27992.04%
Buds Public SchoolMuhasinahAED 11,30459.53%
The Westminster School DubaiAl QusaisAED 11,37250.31%
New Indian Model SchoolGarhoudAED 4,88148.91%
Al Diyafah High SchoolAl QusaisAED 14,03046.58%
Iranian Khadije Kobra School for GirlsAl KaramaAED 3,76444.92%
Al Salam Private SchoolAl NahdaAED 21,40642.82%
Jebel Ali SchoolDamac Hills (Akoya)AED 51,76842.62%
The Central School DubaiAl NahdaAED 4,67341.46%
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 0% for the 2018/19 academic year and by 25.3% over the last five years.

Not-for-profit School Fee Increases Over 5 Years
SchoolAverage Fee 2018/19Increase From Previous YearIncrease Over 5 Years
Dubai CollegeAED 83,864No change19.23%
Dubai English Speaking CollegeAED 79,445No change17.74%
American School of DubaiAED 78,522No change28.07%
Jumeirah English Speaking School Arabian RanchesAED 64,319No change18.32%
Universal American SchoolAED 63,087No change16.96%
Jebel Ali SchoolAED 51,768No change42.62%
Jumeirah English Speaking SchoolAED 47,084No change20.26%
Dubai English Speaking SchoolAED 43,738No change16.78%
Lycee Francais International Prive de Dubai (AFLEC)AED 37,116No change21.05%
St. Mary Catholic High School Dubai-Al MuhaisnahAED 13,455No changeNo change
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

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