DESS, DESC Announce Significant Fee Increases

Not-For-Profit schools Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) and Dubai English Speaking School (DESS) have today informed parents of a fee rise of 5.5% and 8% respectively for the coming academic year.
DESS, DESC Announce Significant Fee Increases
By Susan Roberts
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Not-for profit schools Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) and Dubai English Speaking School (DESS) have today informed parents of a fee rise of 5.5% and 8% respectively for the coming academic year.

In communication to parents, Principal/CEO Mr Andrew Gibbs wrote:

“There is no sugar coating of a message that says the price of something is increasing. This is both unpleasant to write and, from your perspective, receive.”

This announcement, which came surprisingly late on Friday afternoon, also comes more than a month after Dubai College announced a 5% fee increase. While the relatively steep increase of 8% at DESS is likely to raise eyebrows, and no doubt come as something of a shock to parents, the school requests that the increase is considered a “fee correction” required so that the schools is able to "deliver the high standards that parents expect".

Dubai’s remaining Not-For-Profit schools yet to confirm any intended increase.

KHDA Fee Freeze

Parent frustration at rising fees in Dubai’s Not-For-Profit schools are exacerbated by the differing requirements of the For-Profit school sector, which make up the bulk of Dubai’s educational institutions. For the third year running, KHDA announced in March this year that For-Profit schools would not be permitted to raise fees for the 2022-23 academic year, citing the past year’s Educational Cost Index (ECI), which came in at -1.01% (minus 1.01%), signifying that the cost of operating a school had reduced. Not for profit schools have been exempt for this and are instead permitted to apply for permission from KHDA for any proposed fee increases.


DESS and DESC have provided the following justifications for their fee increases in their communication to parents:

“For the academic year 2020-21, and in order to continue to support our families dealing with the impact of Covid, we reduced our fees by 12% at DESC and 5% at DESS (this on the back of a considerable amount of support provided to families as they dealt with the initial onset of pandemic). We then held to this reduced fee level for 2021-22.
To facilitate this loss of income, staffing and other operational costs were pared back, and capital expenditure plans (on the type of infrastructure developments needed across both DESS and DESC to ensure we continue to deliver high quality experiences and outcomes) suspended.”

DESS, founded in 1963, is Dubai’s oldest English National Curriculum school, and is considered ‘Outstanding’ by the KHDA, Dubai's education regulator. With 2021-2022 fees ranging between 35,468 AED – 43,894 AED, it is considered mid-range to premium in terms of fee category for Dubai schools. Sister school, DESC, is also graded ‘Outstanding’ by KHDA. 2021-2022 fees have ranged between 69,865 AED – 75,092 AED, very much premium-tier in terms of fees.  

DESSC 2022-2023 Fees

Year Group Full Academic Year Fees AED Termly Payments AED Due Date
TERM 1 – 13,024
TERM 2 – 12,641
TERM 3 – 12,640
10TH APRIL 2023

Year 1 – 6

TERM 1 – 16,118
TERM 2 – 15,644
TERM 3 – 15,644
10TH APRIL 2023
YEARS 7 – 11
TERM 1 – 25,061
TERM 2 – 24,324
TERM 3 – 24,323
10TH APRIL 2023
TERM 1 – 26,935
TERM 2 – 26,144
TERM 3 – 26,143
10TH APRIL 2023

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