If a family has a child attending school in Dubai, understanding the dynamics of tuition fee hikes can help them in managing their educational expenses effectively or selecting a school that aligns with their financial requirements.

Recently, private schools in Dubai were given the go-ahead to increase the school fees for the next academic year.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which is Dubai’s education regulator, on Tuesday announced an Education Cost Index (ECI) of 2.6 per cent, based on which schools can adjust their fees for the 2024-25 academic year.

Here’s all you need to know about how these calculations are done that determine school fee hikes.

What is the ECI?

The Education Cost Index (ECI) is based on the annual audited financial statements of private schools in Dubai, which outline the operational cost of running a private school to offer a high-quality education and is calculated in collaboration with Digital Dubai Authority.

What criteria does KHDA consider when approving school fee adjustments under the School Fees Framework?

In Dubai, profit schools can increase their fees based on their individual school grade as per the results of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) and the Education Cost Index (ECI) which is calculated on a regular basis.

Under the School Fees Framework, the rate by which schools can adjust their fees is tied to each school’s most recent inspection rating. Any fee adjustment by schools must be approved by KHDA.

How is the ECI applied to these adjustments this year?

Schools that improve their rating from Weak to Acceptable or from Acceptable to Good will be eligible to increase their fees by up to double the ECI of 2.6 per cent.

Schools moving from Good to Very Good will benefit from an increase of up to 1.75 times the ECI and schools improving their rating from Very Good to Outstanding will be eligible to increase their fees by up to 1.5 times the ECI.

>What is the purpose of the School Fees Framework?

As per the KHDA the framework aims to regulate school fees and protect the students and parents (as beneficiaries of the educational services); as well as to provide a favourable environment for investors in the education sector, encouraging them to improve the quality of education in the Emirate of Dubai.

This is achieved through a comprehensive mechanism taking into account the educational and economic aspects and protecting the interests of all stakeholders.

What are the services covered by the Fess Framework?

This framework applies to all tuition fees and costs of services that are provided by the school. However, this framework is not applicable for services outsourced by the school or provided by third parties, that are optional for the parents, and which are governed by other Government authorities.

What are the conditions related to approving the fee increase?

Schools with performance ratings ‘Acceptable’ and lower are required to submit (as part of their application) a KHDA approved action plan detailing how the school will invest in the educational process to improve the quality of education in the school.

This framework is applicable to all private schools in Dubai that have completed three years of operation. It is not applicable to schools that don’t charge tuition fees.

Fee increase for a particular academic year can only be implemented in that year and cannot be carried forward to the upcoming academic years.

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