The decision taken by Dubai's Executive Council of Dubai earlier this month to freeze fees delighted parents, but sent many schools, that had already committed themselves to increased costs, back to the drawing board and to their budgets.
Many schools sent out letter to parents stating that they were awaiting further instructions from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on what would be considered a fee increase. Some schools had hoped they could terminate their discounts on KHDA approved fees, believing this to be a separate issue to simply raising fees.
Schools that had hoped they had this leeway have however now been told this will not be possible. In a letter addressed to the principal of each school, the KHDA has reiterated that there will be no fee increase of any kind.
The letter, seen by WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, states:
“In line with the recent decision (10/2018) by The Executive Council, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) confirms that there will be no fee increase for all private schools in Dubai for the academic year 2018-19. This decision covers all types fee increase request i.e. regular and exceptional fee increases, including (but not limited to) previously approved increases for the academic year 2018-19. This includes schools who applied and were being considered for exceptional fee increases for the said academic year. The above decision is valid for the academic year 2018-19 and future fee changes decisions will be communicated in due course.”
With no recourse to tuition fee increases, schools across the UAE are currently trying to balance their budgets, with a range of new or increased charges on everything from transport, to exam fees being considered.
The education landscape report released by the KHDA shows that the annual revenue in tuition fees for the year 2017-18 was 7.5 billion AED.
Dubai school fees have been rising year on year, well above the education cost index - the measure of inflation affecting school input costs. Even is 2013/14, the last time schools in the emirate were not allowed to increase fees, the average fee of a Dubai school increased by 7.95%, driven largely by new schools opening.