Parents and schools in Dubai will wake up this morning to the news that next year, the 2018/19 academic year, will see no increase in school fees. The decision, released on Twitter, has been taken to "relieve parents of financial burdens".
The tweet was sent by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council on Wednesday evening.
The Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, instructed the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to put the decision into effect immediately by informing private schools and parents.
The move will be widely supported by parents, but will also affect the plans of schools in the emirate. A number of institutions had let it be known fees would be rising, depending upon the approved Education Cost Index, an amount in turn based on the rate of rising costs for schools.
The last time schools were not able to increase their fees was in 2013/14 when, according to the Dubai Statistics Office (DSO), the input costs to run a school declined by 1%. The school inflation rate is unlikely to have been negative this year, although figures have yet to be officially announced.
Those schools that had planned to raise fees now have homework re-balancing budgets and development plans for the next financial year.
The move comes as Dubai looks to reduce government fees and enhance Dubai's attractiveness as a destination for investments and a place to do business.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Happiness Survey found the UAE a slightly less happy place for its residents in 2018, than when it first conducted its survey in 2015. The decline in happiness was seen to be driven by job insecurity, and lack of money.
More: An in-depth look at Dubai school fee trends
David Westley, co-founder of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, Fiona Cottam, Chief Academic Officer and Principal at Hartland International School and Mark Steed, Director at Jumeirah English Speaking School discuss some of the ramifications of the decision to freeze fees at Dubai schools for the 2018-19 academic year.