By Sunita Menon and Wafa Issa, Staff Reporters
Dubai: Parents should brace for significant increases in fees of at least 26 schools in the UAE whose requests for the hike are under consideration by education authorities.
Dubai-based GEMS Group on Saturday announced that it is applying to the Ministry of Education to authorise school fee increases above 20 per cent across 11 of its Central Board of Secondary School Education (CBSE) and Indian School Certificate (ISC) schools in the UAE. The increases are effective as of April 1.
GEMS said the reasons for the increase are spiralling rents, increasing salaries for teachers and rising costs.
Hugh McPherson, Chief Operating Officer of GEMS Schools, said the current Ministry of Education ceiling of 20 per cent tuition fee increase every three years is "not adequate to cover the schools’ rapidly escalating operating costs."
The schools include Our Own English High Schools in Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain and The Kindergarten Starters in Dubai. GEMS officials said they are applying for appropriate increases at seven other CBSE and ISC-syllabus schools to offset their escalating costs.
Officials at the Education Zone and the Ministry of Education confirmed the news and said that a fee hike was "justifiable" if the schools provided additional quality services to the pupils.
Mona Al Lootah, head of the zone, told Gulf News on Saturday that there are 15 more schools waiting for approval to increase their tution fees.
"As per the federal law tution fees can be raised only every three years. But schools can apply for an earlier increase if they have provided new services in the school," she said.
Contacted by Gulf News, parents denounced the move and lamented they will have to make drastic cuts in their family budgets to send their children to good schools.
"My son studies in Kindergarten Starters in Dubai. A notification of a 20 per cent tution fee hike was sent to us yesterday," said a Dubai-based parent.
The school said it will provide better services, she noted. "[But] I am not going to buy that argument," she said.