Parents hit by soaring school tuition fees

Private schools say increases are unavoidable, tied to same inflationary pressures on food, housing.
By Andy Sambidge
Sun 31 Aug 2008 07:03 AM

Tuition fees for some grades at private schools in the UAE have rocketed by up to 50 percent amid a national shortage of spaces.

School administrators say the increases have been unavoidable, and are tied to the same inflationary spiral that has driven up the cost of everything, in particular housing and food.

The sharp rises have caused some parents to take drastic measures, including deferring the start of their children’s education until next year, reported UAE daily The National on Sunday.

“The reality in the UAE, with the majority of education being private, is that nearly 100 per cent of school revenue comes from tuition,” Jason McBride, the principal at the GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi, one of the few schools that did not raise its tuition fees this year, told the paper.

“Unfortunately, when inflation is high and the costs of food, housing and transportation skyrockets it impacts families, but it also raises the costs associated with running a school.”

The cost of bringing in North American-trained teachers and paying them a premium, housing them and transporting them, he said, continued to rise every year, and tuition must follow suit.

“If everything is going up, how do schools afford to operate? They have to raise tuition; an unfortunate double whammy to parents,” he said.

The American Community School (ACS) has raised fees by 15 per cent this year while at the British School – Al Khubairat, primary school fees have been raised by 27 percent, while secondary school charges have been increased 10 per cent.

The Sharjah English School this year put up annual fees for the first foundation year by 53 percent.

Schools say the tuition increases have been driven by sharp increases in their own costs, particularly rent.

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017 01:27 PM GST

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