Dubai's Alabbar hit a nerve with residents

Comment: What the Emaar Group Chairman said about tuition fees resonated with the public because he spoke the truth.

Vito rammuzzi

Am quiet angry that Mr Al Abbar talks about high school fees and conveniently forgets about high mall rates, high community fees in his master communities, which single handedly out priced Dubai for many residents and millions of tourists.
He may need to look at his own house rather than taunting private school providers


And now Mr Alabbar is moving jobs away from Dubai. Is that fair?


There is a link the writer didn't make and that is to discuss why Harvard can afford to provide such generous subsidies for many of its pupils. Harvard enjoys the world's largest - USD 32bn currently - educational endowment; a fund so large it has its own bespoke funds management company to manage it as well as utilizing the services of a number of elite hedge funds. Without going into detail much of this money was and continues to be given to Harvard largely by altruistic benefactors and alumni - it is not retained earnings from educational services. Simply put because rich men in America were and are willing - for whatever reasons, some undoubtedly narcissistic and self-serving - to donate large sums of money to Harvard, education can be subsidized. As there are no equivalent NFP educational establishments in UAE, as far as I know, this is not possible here


It does not matter how a person in a responsible position or a member of the government body addresses an issue in a public forum. Words mean nothing, unless something is actually done about it. Whether something will be truly done about it is the question. The plight of some parents is deplorable. Families are separated, as they cannot afford the ridiculous fees that are being charged for schooling, and that to me is a shame. When the country is amass with 'happiness' messages. Something to think about. Happiness is after all a state of mind and not just a emoticon!


I am of the view that both private and public participation should co-exist in all the sectors, however, schools should be allowed to operate only on cost plus model with a maximum cap @ 5% mark-up and not permit investors targeting 15 - 20% profit every year. Having said state subsidy should be provided to schools, tuition fee should he administered and cost should be audited in order for education to be more affordable. This would help sector growth in the country and deter parents from sending there children back home or elsewhere to study


I concur 100%!

Most "school owners" are investors with large portfolios in other businesses/holdings and hence they judge the viability of all their investments equally. They fail to acknowledge that a quality education is a social and moral responsibility on any stakeholder, it shouldn't be about ROI, it should be about results.

The existing network of "outstanding" schools have totally priced out children who may be very gifted but lack the financial means to compete at a level playing field.


When comparing any academic institution to Harvard one has to take into account that Harvard currently has endowments (i.e. private donations) of $36 billion (according to the London Financial Times in Jan 2017) so its fees are not the result of 'free market' finances but come from a highly subsidised organisation. You are not, therefore, comparing like with like. I also agree with the point made by other reviewers, that cost of living in Dubai - a major cost factor for any school - is fuelled by the property companies such as Emaar


Can Arabian Business do a survey for Dubai and the UAE and see how many are actually saving? I can guarantee a vast majority of people are living under great financial stress.


@2Cents, the only data i have is this old one bit of info. Without knowing the reason for moving I can not judge if people did not save because they did not want to save or because of poor planning, or other issues.

Most of the people I know (former colleagues, or even my employees) have saved money. But that does not seem to be as universal as you seem to think.

Again not a lot of data available. As usual.

2 Cents

You'd be surprised with how many people save. Not to get too demographic here but there are populations of people from certain parts of the world that refuse to spend, even in Dubai. I know of several colleagues, one of whom lives in a rented apartment in Bur Dubai yet owns 3 villas in top Dubai communities. He not only saves but invests very wisely.

And frankly speaking, he is not the exception. If you live here and are unable to save, like Stuart said, there seems to be something wrong with your financial model.


I know among my peer group we are all saving well each month (3000K USD / month+). Maybe you need to re skill or do something else and take some ownership of your financial situation


pre crisis (that is before 2008) there was a widely circulated survey that roughly 50% of all expats left Dubai with no net savings.
As usual getting accurate figures is not easy

Ananth Srivatsa

Well I'm not entirely sure what proportion of the fees actually goes towards teachers' salaries. Clearly some correction required in school fees but definitely not at the cost of the quality of education and facilities. Can anyone in the industry throw some light on the various fixed and variable costs in the education industry and an estimate of how the fees are allocated towards those costs?


Hit a nerve? He essentially said other people should lower their profits... His on the other hand are fine
I am sure I am not the only one seeing a little dissonance here


Schools need to charge high enough fees to attract (and retain) quality teachers. This becomes more and more difficult as the cost of living goes up, which is fueled by Emaar's super high rental fees for commercial and retail spaces.

My 2 cents

Parents expect lower fees, sure we all do, no doubt about it. But isn't there a correlation between the cost of schooling and all other services? Shouldn't airlines also reduce cost of tickets, cinemas the cost of movies, restaurants the cost of food, so on and so forth?

The cost of schooling per se cannot be isolated without taking into the account all the other services that have a ripple effect.

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