|13 February, 2020

No school fee hikes allowed in Dubai this year: KHDA

New policy announced even as overall cost of living declines

Arab students in a classroom. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image for illustrative purposes only.

Arab students in a classroom. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image for illustrative purposes only.

Getty Images/Gallo Images

Families in Dubai won’t have to worry about higher education-related expenditures this coming school year.

Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced on Thursday that no private schools will be eligible to increase their tuition fees for the 2020-21 academic year.

The decision comes even when the country’s overall cost of living has dropped amid subdued economic conditions. The UAE’s consumer price index (CPI), which measures the costs of goods and services, dropped 0.8 percent in 2019 from the previous year due to continued decline in property rents and sales prices, and costs of water, electricity, fuel and gas.

A statement released by state-run news agency WAM, which reported the no-fee hike policy, did not provide further details, but it suggested that some schools may be exempted, provided they will meet the “eligibility criteria,” as outlined by the KHDA.

“The School Fees Framework prioritises the interests of students and parents and encourages investment in the education sector by allowing schools to develop long-term growth plans, as well as motivating exiting schools to improve the quality of education they offer,” said Mohammed Darwish, chief of KHDA’s Regulations and Permits Commission.

Costliest in the world

School fees in the UAE have been ranked as among the world’s highest.

According to a study released by HSBC, a student in the country can rack up $99,378 (365,015 UAE dirhams) in school fees from primary to university, the second-highest in the world and more than double the global average ($44,221).

Hong Kong was found to have the highest school fees, estimated to be more than $132,000 on average.

Dubai’s education sector has remained competitive, with a total of 72 new schools opening their doors over the last seven years. The student population in the emirate also went up by 31 percent, with more than 70,000 new students signing up during the same period.

In 2019, enrolment at Dubai’s private schools went up by 2.9 percent compared to the previous year.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

Cleofe.Maceda@refinitiv.com 

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© ZAWYA 2020

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