School fee increases have been approved for 51 private Abu Dhabi schools for the 2016-2017 academic year. 39 schools were denied permission to increase fees. Abu Dhabi currently has 186 private schools in total.
The average approved increase at the 51 schools has been set at six per cent, the emirate’s education sector regulator said in a statement. However there appears to be considerable variation. According to a report in The National, Al Muneera Private School, has been allowed to lift fees for new pupils by up to 47 per cent. The school formerly operated in a villa as the Middle East Private School, was consistently among the lowest-performing but was last month bumped up to "satisfactory".
In addition, The Philippine Global School, which took over the underperforming Twenty First Century Private Academy last year, has been allowed to raise its tuition fees by 20 per cent, although it is not clear yet it will do so.
The list of the schools that have been allowed to increase their fees for the 2016-2017 academic year has not yet been released. However of the 90 schools that applied to be able to raise their fees, 15 offer the Asian curriculum and 75 another curricula.
In its statement to the press, ADEC said schools had to show improvement in a number of criteria to qualify for a fee rise, either by investments into professional development and better salaries for teachers, and/or expansion of the school premises and facilities.
Schools in Abu Dhabi also need to meet Emiratisation targets, and to be inclusive when it comes to special education needs and disabilities. Schools also need to have operated for at least three years, and unless they have maintained their performance standards over the previous academic year.
Speaking to UAE newspaper Gulf News, Ebtisam Ahmad, a legal assistant from Thailand said: “Every parent wants the best education for their children but when you look at the exorbitant fees in Abu Dhabi, you simply end up settling for what you can afford".
The Abu Dhabi school market suffers from a greater scarcity of places, leaving parents with considerably less choice than their Dubai based peers.