There has been a recent spike in complaints about increased school fee registration costs across the UAE, according to local media.
Current regulations in Dubai specify that registration fees can be no more than 10 per cent of total tuition fees. The maximum level allowed in Abu Dhabi is 5 per cent and the maximum schools in Sharjah can charge is 500 AED regardless of the overall fee level.
A federal law on the issue of school registration fees is currently under discussion. Currently sanctions for wrongdoing are imposed by regulators operating in each of the individual emirates. The KHDA, which regulates schools in Dubai, said that the limit on registration fees for new students has been fixed at 30 per cent of total tuition fees and 10 per cent for existing students for the next academic year.
According to a senior executive they had fined 10 private schools in Dubai since the framework rules began to be applied in April 2012. Key offences included imposing extra charges for optional services and raising tuition fees without approval of the authority.
Another area where KHDA has stepped in is where private schools refused to refund the fees to parents who had decided to transfer their children to other schools within the UAE or outside.
In Sharjah the regulator firstly warns the particular school violating the law, after which they can be fined. The fine can be up to Dh10,000.
I have had a very bad experience registering my son at a school in Dubai for the next academic year (2014-2015). Once the registration was done and registration fee was paid, I was told in writing that an assessment will be conducted and that I'll be notified on when it will take place. Since I didn't hear anything from the school, I took the initiative to contact them and was very surprised to hear that no assessment was planned for my son. I was told that "all registrations received after October 18th, 2013 were not entitled to an assessment". In the meantime I did visit the school with my wife and our son, met some teachers, the registrar and the school principal.
I was offered no answer when I asked why the registrations were still open if no assessment was planned from the start. Why wasn't this indicated on the school's online registration page ? No answer. Why was the registration still open if no possibility of an assessment ? No answer.
More than the money and time lost, it's the behaviour and process that are most shocking to me.
It shows a very poor work ethic.
Are there other parents who experienced the same ?
Is there a possibility of a class action in Dubai ?