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Dubai Allows Private Schools to Increase Fees by Up to 5.2%: KHDA Explains Calculations

Dubai Allows Private Schools to Increase Fees by Up to 5.2%: KHDA Explains Calculations

Dubai’s private schools are now permitted to adjust their fees, with increases of up to 5.2%, depending on their recent inspection ratings, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). This move follows the announcement of an Education Cost Index (ECI) of 2.6%, which serves as the basis for fee adjustments for the upcoming academic year 2024-25.

The KHDA has linked the rate of fee adjustments to each school’s performance in the annual inspections conducted by the regulatory body. Schools that have seen an improvement in their ratings can apply for fee increases, subject to approval from the KHDA. However, schools whose ratings have declined will not be eligible for any fee adjustments.

Here’s a breakdown of how the fee adjustments are calculated based on inspection ratings:

  • Schools that have moved from a ‘Weak’ to an ‘Acceptable’ rating, or from ‘Acceptable’ to ‘Good’, can increase their fees by up to double the ECI, which amounts to 5.2%.
  • Schools that have upgraded from ‘Good’ to ‘Very Good’ can raise their fees by up to 1.75 times the ECI, resulting in an increase of up to 4.55%.
  • Schools that have progressed from ‘Very Good’ to ‘Outstanding’ are eligible for a fee increase of up to 1.5 times the ECI, equivalent to 3.9%.
  • Schools that have maintained the same inspection rating can adjust their fees by up to 2.6%.

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

This announcement marks the second consecutive year that schools in Dubai are permitted to increase their fees, following three years of fee freezes (2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the previous academic year 2023-24, educational institutions were allowed to hike fees by up to 6%.

Shamma AlMansouri, Director of Permits at KHDA, emphasized the alignment of fee adjustments with schools’ inspection ratings, highlighting the quality of education offered while enhancing sector competitiveness. AlMansouri further stressed the transparent nature of the process, which considers the interests of all stakeholders, ensuring continual improvement in educational quality and the sustainability of the private school sector.

During the last academic year, over three-quarters (77%) of students were enrolled in schools rated ‘Good’ or higher, reflecting the overall quality of education in Dubai’s private school sector. Enrolment at Dubai private schools has seen a 12% increase since the previous academic year, with more than 365,000 students attending 220 private schools offering 17 different curricula.

The move to allow fee adjustments based on inspection ratings aims to incentivize schools to maintain or improve their educational standards, fostering a conducive learning environment for students while ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of the private education sector in Dubai.

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