Private schools in Dubai raked in more than AED4bn ($1.09bn) in revenue from school fees this academic year, an increase of 16.3 percent, a new education report showed.
The average tuition fee paid by Dubai’s private school students also rose 6 percent to AED18,196 per year, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
The increase in school revenue from fees was partly due to a rise in charges as well as more student enrolments, the report says.
There are now nearly 225,100 students enrolled in private schools in Dubai, 8 percent more than the 2011-12 academic year.
School fees in Dubai have become the ire of many expatriate parents, who do not have the option to send their children to a public school unless they are from another Arab country.
The KHDA calculated that private schools could have received up to AED4.1bn in total school fees during the 2012-13 academic year, but the figure was likely to be slightly less when scholarships and discounts were taken into account.
Fees for enrolling children at private schools in Dubai vary greatly.
There are six tuition-free private schools and very low-fee private schools that charge AED1,725 per year.
At the other end of the scale, a Grade 12 student at the most expensive school can pay the highest annual fee of AED96,140.
The cost of transport, uniforms, sport expenses and some stationary supplies, as well as boarding, are on top of those fees.
Nearly half (45 percent) of all students at Dubai private schools pay less than AED10,000 per year in tuition fees, while 16 percent pay more than AED35,000 and about 39 percent pay more than AED35,000 per year, the report says.
Fees tend to increase by grade level. While 53 percent of Kindergarten 1 students pay less than AED10,000 per year, only 34 percent of Grade 12 students pay a similar amount.
Arabian Business revealed in January some private school parents were forking out more for primary education in Dubai than UK university annual tuition.
Some of the most popular private schools in Dubai charge more than AED55,000 per year for children as young as three years old.
All of the emirate’s best secondary schools, as per KHDA ratings, cost at least AED58,000 per year.
An increasing number of parents claim they have sought bank loans or arrangements to pay their education bills.
In some cases, English families are pulling their children out of Dubai schools and sending them back to the UK for their education.