26K Plus GEMS Parents Set to Get Discount

GEMS has revealed that more than 26,000 of its parents are set to receive a discount on its current term fees, and that the average discount is now 33%, higher than the blanket discount offered by many schools.
26K Plus GEMS Parents Set to Get Discount
By David Westley
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GEMS has revealed that the number of its parents getting a discount has risen by more than 6,000 to reach in excess of 26,000, and that the average discount on current term fees is now 33%, up from the 20% as of the 16th April

This puts the average discount offered by GEMS, above the average blanket discount provided by a significant number of other schools in the UAE.

GEMS said in its statement that discounts on current term fees range from 25 per cent all the way up to 100 per cent in cases of extreme hardship. The statement also noted that applications will continue to be processed moving forward, providing ongoing protection to those parents who suffer job losses, reduced pay or business disruption.

GEMS Education owns and operates 46 schools in the UAE. By our estimation, between 1 in 4 and 1 in 6 of its students has now received a discount.

The decision not to provide a discount to all parents has not been universally popular however, generating considerable comment across social media. 

According to GEMS all parents experienced a reduction in income as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, "and who now have limited means to settle tuition fees", were invited to apply for the Relief Package, with thousands applying in just a matter of days. 

The school group has not announced the number of applications that were rejected.

Some parents have argued that in addition to financial support, a discount on the current term's fees should be applied because distance learning has not been of the same quality, nor required the same cost to deliver, as school based learning.

The school group has clearly not profited from the situation however. In an advisory released yesterday, Moody's Investment Services noted that discounts on school fees, as well as late fee payments, had affected GEMS Education's ability to repay its debt. As a result, the ratings agency moved its B2 Rating outlook from Stable to Negative. GEMS is expected to owe USD $8bn by the end of August, eight times its earnings before interest, tax and depreciation.

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