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Dubai permits private schools to increase fees based on inspection ratings

Dubai permits private schools to increase fees based on inspection ratings

Dubai: Dubai's private schools have been granted permission to raise their fees by up to 5.2 per cent for the 2024-25 academic year. This increase is contingent upon the schools' performance in the latest annual inspections conducted by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Schools that have experienced a decline in their ratings will not be eligible for any fee increase.

The decision to allow fee increases was announced by the KHDA, which also revealed an Education Cost Index (ECI) of 2.6 per cent. The ECI serves as the basis for schools to adjust their fees. The rate of increase is linked to the inspection rating of each school, which the regulator evaluates annually. Any fee adjustment proposed by schools must receive approval from the KHDA.

The Fee hike calculations are as follows:

-Improvement in Rating from 'Weak' to 'Acceptable' or 'Acceptable' to 'Good': Schools can increase their fees by up to double the ECI, which amounts to 5.2 per cent.

-Improvement in Rating from 'Good' to 'Very Good': Schools are eligible for an increase of up to 1.75 times the ECI, equivalent to 4.55 per cent.

- Improvement in Rating from 'Very Good' to 'Outstanding': Schools can increase their fees by up to 1.5 times the ECI, which equals 3.9 per cent.

- Maintenance of the Same Inspection Rating: Schools can raise their fees by up to 2.6 per cent.

The ECI is determined based on the annual audited financial statements of private schools in Dubai. It reflects the operational costs of running a school and is calculated in collaboration with the Digital Dubai Authority.

This is the second consecutive year that schools are allowed to increase fees after a period of three years (2020-21; 2021-22; and 2022-23) during which fees remained unchanged due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the 2023-24 academic year, educational institutions were permitted to hike fees by up to 6 per cent.

Shamma AlMansouri, director of Permits at KHDA, emphasized that aligning fee adjustments with school inspection ratings highlights the quality of education offered by schools and enhances sector competitiveness. She also stated that the application of a scientific methodology to monitor and analyze the audited financial statements of private schools ensures transparency and continuous improvement in education quality.

During the last academic year, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of students were enrolled in schools rated 'Good' or better. Enrollment at Dubai private schools has increased by 12 per cent since the previous academic year, with over 365,000 students attending 220 private schools offering 17 different curricula in Dubai.

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