Parents in new protest over school fees hike

UPDATE 1: Dubai school in discussions with authority to seek clarity over fee increase.
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Wed 04 Feb 2009 06:51 AM

Parents of pupils at Dubai Modern High School on Wednesday held a silent protest outside the school against a fee increase which could see fees rise by 100 percent.

Gems Education, the owner of the school which owns more than 26 schools across the emirates, warned parents that such protests went “against the ethos and culture of the school community, as well as the laws of the UAE".

The demonstration was the second in a week. On Thursday between 200-300 parents held a demonstration.

Talks between Gems Education and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) are taking place to determine whether or not plans to increase a Gems run school fees by 110 percent are reasonable.

Gems told Arabian Business on Tuesday that it was in discussions with KHDA.

“We are in conversation with KHDA to gain further clarity on the fee increase approvals they have already given,” said Dino Varkey, the senior director of business development at Gems.

Last week Gems said the fee hike was a result of an increase in rent which had forced it to relocate the school.

“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.

“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 a statement.

The increase will affect more than 2,000 students at the Indian syllabus school, which will move from Jumeirah to a new campus in Nad Al Sheba, around five times its current campus size.

Under the proposed increase Grade 1 pupil’s fees would increase from 15,950 dirhams ($4,340) for the current academic year to 33,520 dirhams ($9,130) for the 2010/2011 academic year.

“We’re devastated,” one parent told Arabian Business. “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].”

According to The National, 53 parents have threatened to take their children out of the school next term as a direct result of the fee increase.

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