School chiefs have blamed the 90 percent fee increase at a Dubai school on its relocation, Arabian Business has learnt.
Dubai Modern High School, an Indian syllabus school in Jumeirah, has informed parents of the 90 percent hike, which is planned over the next two academic years.
The move, which parents have said is “devastating”, has been blamed on the school’s relocation.
“In April we are moving Dubai Modern High School into a new state of the art building with many new and exciting facilities. There was no increase in fees for this current academic year,” Gems Education said in a statement to Arabian Business.
“We have had to increase fees to cover these increased costs and to ensure we continue to provide and improve the high quality education that the school is known for,” said Gems.
The increase will affect more than 2,000 students, who will move to a new school in Nad Al Sheba, where it will occupy a premises five times its current campus size.
But parents have said the move, which will see Grade 1 pupil’s fees increase from 15,950 dirhams ($4,340) for the current academic year to 33,520 dirhams ($9,130) for the 2010/2011 academic year, is unfair and unjustified.
“We’re devastated,” said one parent who wished to remain anonymous. “We knew there would be a fee hike because schools who shift their premises don’t come under the fee cap, but 90 percent during a recession, when all of us have a wage freeze [is wrong].”
Last year the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) put a 16 percent cap on private school fees. The fee freeze, however, doesn’t cover schools moving or undergoing renovation.
KHDA told Arabian Business that it granted permission for the fee increase after “careful consideration”.
“The decision was made when it became apparent that real estate development planned for the area where the school is located in Al Safa meant the school had to move,” said Mohammed Darwish, chief of licensing and customer relations at KHDA.
Darwish said KHDA approved the hike on the “condition that Gems schools would provide an acceptable alternative” as agreed with the parents.
In October the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the rising cost of schooling had forced many expatriate parents in Dubai to send their children home to attend school, after they noted the number of Dubai residents aged 10 to 19 was “unusually low”.
The report said secondary school fees increased by 25.2 percent in 2008, while primary school fees were 18.7 percent more expensive compared to the previous year.
The chamber estimated that school fees now range from 3,000 dirhams ($817) to 58,000 dirhams ($15,700).