The rate by which schools can increase their fees will be tied to each school’s most recent inspection rating from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau.
Under the School Fees Framework, private schools that maintain the same inspection rating will be eligible to increase their fees by 3 per cent.
Schools that improve their rating in the most recent inspections will be eligible to increase their fees according to the methodology outlined in the School Fees Framework. This should mean by up to twice of the rate by those schools maintaining their rating.
The key is what the Educational Cost Index is, which has not been revealed by Dubai's Statistics Office.
According to the framework:
Schools that have improved their rating from Very Weak to Weak, from Weak to Acceptable and from Acceptable to Good can increase their fees by double the Educational Cost Index.
Schools that go from Good to Very Good can increase their fees by 1.75 times the ECI.
Schools going from Very Good to Outstanding can increase fees by 1.5 times the ECI.
Note, the last time schools were permitted to raise fees based on the Educational Cost Index was 2019-2020 (by 2.07% to 4.14%).
While the inspection rating of the school is a deciding factor on its eligibility for increasing fees, it does not provide an automatic approval. Individual schools meeting the criteria above are then required to make a fee increase application to KHDA.
Mohammed Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of Permits and Compliance Sector at KHDA said:
“The School Fees Framework emphasises the quality of education offered by schools as the foundation for any adjustments allowed in school fees. The framework also provides transparency for families and offers them a choice of schools that match their financial and academic requirements.
“The framework was developed to allow schools to develop long-term growth plans while sustaining their current operations to provide a high quality of education to students. We have worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure the school fees framework continues to support a robust and reliable private education sector that offers families a choice of affordable and high-quality education.”
The news has been widely welcomed by Dubai's private school owners. Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education said:
"Today's decision by KHDA to increase school fees for academic year 2023-24 empowers us to invest further in our teachers and facilities, the foundations of a quality education for every GEMS Education student. We are pleased to confirm today that we will be implementing teacher salary increases in April for our Indian curriculum schools and in September for our international schools."
Enrolment at Dubai private schools has increased by 4.5 per cent since the last academic year. Twenty-two new schools have opened in the last three years, bringing the total number of private schools in Dubai to 216.
Note: The latest inspection reports for Indian and Pakistan curriculum schools may be found here. Ratings for schools of other curricula will be released later this year.