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
2012/13126AED 24,6963%No data
2013/14131AED 26,700-1%8.12%
2014/15140AED 28,9781.74%8.53%
2015/16143AED 31,2092.92%7.7%
2016/17158AED 34,0743.21%9.18%
2017/18168AED 34,9112.4%2.46%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.

Over the last six years the average annual fee for all schools in Dubai has increased by 41% percent, with the sharpest rise in 2016/17. As a mean school fees in Dubai have risen by 7.198%, 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
20125AED 27,462
20138AED 41,284
201410AED 46,211
20155AED 57,182
201613AED 55,700
201711AED 41,463
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%
The Greens1AED 64,0993.6%
Festival City2AED 60,6203.76%
Nad al Sheba5AED 59,487No data
Al Sufouh4AED 59,45719.83%
Arabian Ranches2AED 58,4101.63%
Jumeirah Village Triangle2AED 57,638No data
Umm Sheif1AED 57,0929.24%
Dubai Academic City3AED 57,0403.86%
Dubai Sports City2AED 55,3861.33%
Emirates Hills2AED 55,0550.44%
Umm Suqeim5AED 54,6873.47%
The Villa1AED 53,4403.3%
Mirdif4AED 52,2151.53%
Akoya1AED 51,7688.81%
Al Barsha12AED 50,590No data
Motor City2AED 49,455No data
The Meadows1AED 47,741No data
Dubai Investments Park6AED 43,8555.28%
Al Safa8AED 43,7839.36%
Al Barsha South6AED 42,342No data
Jumeirah 12AED 39,8750.11%
Al Khail3AED 36,529No data
Dubai Silicon Oasis2AED 35,2425.67%
Al Mankhool2AED 29,3993.6%
Al Wasl4AED 29,3723.08%
Al Quoz12AED 28,4208.36%
Al Nahda7AED 27,5290.73%
Al Barsha 11AED 27,4453.6%
Al Twar 31AED 24,826No data
Mankhool1AED 24,076No data
Al Twar3AED 23,8652.28%
Muhaisna 11AED 23,4393.6%
Al Mamzar1AED 22,9742.27%
Al Mizhar4AED 21,51520.04%
Oud Metha9AED 21,0585.08%
Knowledge Village1AED 20,590No data
Hor Al Anz1AED 17,9773.6%
Al Warqa6AED 17,66612.89%
Nad Al Hamar1AED 16,3142.4%
Jebel Ali2AED 15,6943.21%
Al Muhaisnah6AED 15,5543.3%
Al Qusais17AED 13,062No data
Bur Dubai1AED 11,896No data
Garhoud10AED 11,3392.06%
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 Bur Dubai, Knowledge Village 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, 763% 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 Level32AED 39,0411.8%Dubai College
AP3AED 66,4542.25%American School of Dubai
AS Level22AED 43,1313.01%Dubai College
BTEC12AED 57,6791.14%Dubai English Speaking College
CBSE28AED 12,0204.35%GEMS New Millennium School
CISCE5AED 29,4540.33%GEMS Modern Academy
Canadian1AED 51,875No dataBritish Columbia Canadian School
Common Core5AED 36,6081.07%Bradenton Prep Academy
DELF2AED 16,9933.21%Al Mawakeb School Al Garhoud
EYFS45AED 41,772No dataForemarke School
French7AED 41,0085.5%International Concept for Education
GCSE29AED 49,2773%Dubai College
German1AED 52,0535.24%German International School Dubai
IB21AED 63,2701.8%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB CP4AED 67,3122.1%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB DP18AED 62,1462.16%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB MYP9AED 65,9770.82%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IB PYP11AED 64,9961.26%GEMS World Academy Dubai
IGCSE23AED 35,3882.2%Repton School Dubai
Iranian3AED 10,51511.48%Towheed Iranian Boys School
Japanese1AED 20,700No dataJapanese School Dubai
Montessori2AED 14,479No dataAmbassador Kindergarten Dubai
Philippines2AED 7,7976.4%The Philippine School
SABIS3AED 30,3745.53%The International School of Choueifat DIP
SAT3AED 31,1343.6%Al Mizhar American Academy
Specialist SEN provision3AED 48,36214.99%Modern Alternative Education
UAE MoE15AED 15,8332.42%North American International School
UK National Curriculum59AED 43,558No dataRepton School Dubai
US HS Diploma29AED 33,8832.75%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%
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%
Horizon International SchoolUmm SheifAED 57,0929.24%
Jebel Ali SchoolAkoyaAED 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%
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 SchoolAkoyaAED 51,76829.66%
GEMS Winchester School, DubaiOud MethaAED 15,28827.43%
Indian High School DubaiGarhoudAED 7,75126.66%
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%
Horizon International SchoolUmm SheifAED 57,09248.53%
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 5.4% for the 2017/18 academic year and by 32.3% 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%
St. Mary's Catholic High SchoolAED 8,7455%39.39%
Indian High School DubaiAED 7,75110%50.49%
Fee data from Dubai KHDA.