The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge has allowed private schools in the country to raise tuition fees for the academic year of 2023-24. The fees are likely to be raised by an average of 4%. The Government of the UAE has frozen any increase in the fees for private schools for the past three years during the pandemic.
The objective behind such a move was to reduce the financial burden on the parents in light of increasing layoffs and impending recession.
However, now that the side effects of the pandemic have been mitigated, the private schools have demanded before the regulator to allow them to increase their fees which have been the same since the academic year of 2021-22.
This move will likely govern the fee hike across different types of schools
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge have devised a unique mechanism to allow the schools to raise their fees. This mechanism will ensure that the fee hike is justified and reasonable. Different categories of private schools have been allowed to increase their tuition fees by varying proportions.
As the fee hike was frozen during the pandemic, the private school authorities found it difficult to cope with the rising expenditure and the cost of sustenance.
Dino Varkey, the Group Chief Executive of Gems Education, one of the leading private schools in Abu Dhabi, confirmed the difficulties of the private schools in improving their services for the holistic development of the children with such a low fee.
The notification to hike the tuition fees should not be uniformly interpreted. The education regulator has classified the schools based on their performance. This performance of the private school has to be judged based on the number of students enrolled in a school, their social, personal, and intellectual development, standards of teaching, quality of the curriculum, and supportive opportunities for the students.
This performance will likely be reviewed through annual inspections, also known as Irtiqaa. The regulator would deploy inspectors for four days to carry out such inspections. After the comprehensive analysis of the parameters mentioned above, these inspectors would then issue ratings to the private schools.
The schools with an outstanding remark can hike their tuition fees by 3.94%. At the same time, the private schools with a ‘very good’ and ‘good’ remark can increase the fees by 3.38% and 2.81%, respectively.
The private schools with an acceptable, weak, or weak remark may not increase their tuition fees beyond 2.25%. In addition, various private schools in Abu Dhabi that offer a world-class educational ecosystem to the pupils have been allowed to raise the fees by 6% for the academic year 2023-24.
The regulator has also provided adequate opportunities for private schools to improve their performance under the assessment. According to the recent directive, if the private schools upgrade their ratings from weak to acceptable and acceptable to good within six months, they would be allowed to increase their fees by 6%.
The schools that move from good to very good can increase their charges by 5.25%. Last but not the least, the regulator has allowed increasing the tuition fee by 4.5% if the schools attain the highest achievable outstanding level.
Any private school that successfully passes this assessment criteria has a right to increase fees compared to those private schools that fail to pass this assessment. The reasoning behind this differentiation is entirely justified. The private schools which outperform others holistically contribute towards the development of the students.
They offer a good environment at par with international education standards for the children’s growth. These schools even employ trained professors and scholars to educate students. Therefore, these private schools must incur a lot of expenditure in building a properly-developed infrastructure, purchasing software, and hiring professional teachers.
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Hence, they are justified in increasing the fees more than the lower-ranking schools. The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge also wants to reward these outstanding private schools for their meticulous performance to encourage continuous improvement in the quality of the knowledge.
It is important to note that various private schools have revised their fee structures for the upcoming academic year after this notification. The annual tuition fee for Brighton College Abu Dhabi has been revised to Dh 77,720 for higher secondary courses.
Raha International School and Al Ain American Private School charge Dh 61,900 and Dh 24,980 as their annual tuition fees. Many other private schools will be releasing their revised annual fees very soon.
This move has, however, not been welcomed by their parents. This will increase the financial burden on the parents. However, the move has been made only after considering all the circumstances. This will definitely help to improve the quality of education in the country to great extent.