Adec has approved an average of 3 increase in fees
Abu Dhabi: A total of 24 private schools in the emirate of Abu Dhabi have been authorised to hike their fees for the 2017-2018 academic year.
In a statement sent on Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) announced that the average fee increase at these institutions will be about three per cent.
The announcement by the Adec, which regulates the education sector in the emirate, had parents worried, with many complaining that fee increases are unjustified at a time when the regional economy is facing a slowdown.
Hamad Al Daheri, executive director for private schools and quality assurance at the Adec, said the Adec is keen on ensuring that students receive high-quality education at affordable prices in a variety of curriculums. The upcoming fee increases have been approved following rigorous Adec inspections, and the authority also rejected fee increase requests from 60 other institutions.
Exact details on which schools will be hiking their fees in the next academic year were, however, not immediately available.
There are currently 191 private schools in the emirate, and they enrol about 245,000 students among them. About 74.4 per cent of all students at these schools come from expatriate households.
“There was a fee increase at my daughter’s school last year, and although the institution has opened a new pool and library, I still feel that the hike was not fully justified,” A. Fernandes, mother of a fifth-grader from India, told Gulf News. Her daughter attends an Indian curriculum school, and Fernandes pays Dh18,000 in annual tuition.
“She moves up a grade each year but I have noticed that the teachers don’t help her improve her vocabulary or become a better learner, simply because they themselves do not have the know-how. In addition, there is a lot more the school has to do to improve its basic maintenance, so I certainly hope fees will not be increased again this year at a time when costs are rising as salaries fall,” she added.
A. Abdullah, another working mother from Jordan, said she has to reserve nearly 60 per cent of her income to put her three girls through school. Abdullah’s daughters are enrolled at a British curriculum school, and the fees are set at about Dh26,000 per child next year.
“We have already been told that the fees are increasing next year, and have no idea how we will pay. I don’t want to move my daughters to an Arabic-speaking school, some of which charge lower fees, but this current fee structure makes it extremely difficult for families,” she said.
According to the Adec, about 34 per cent of private school students pay less than Dh10,000 in annual school fees, and 24 per cent of students pay between Dh20,000 and Dh30,000. Another 12 per cent of students are enrolled at private schools where fees range from Dh30,000 to Dh50,000, and sic per cent of students pay more than Dh50,000 in yearly tuition.
The Adec statement said that inspectors look into a number of different factors in order to determine whether a school meets the criteria to increase its tuition fees.
For instance, the institution must demonstrate a commitment towards improving human capital through professional development and better salaries for teachers. It must also have invested in the maintenance and expansion of the school premises and facilities.
In addition, schools that apply for a fee hike must employ a set proportion or more of Emirati employees in teaching, administrative and technical positions. The admission of special needs pupils and provision of support for them is also considered.
In the previous academic year (2016-2017), 51 schools in Abu Dhabi were allowed to increase their fees by an average of six per cent.