The UAE is the most expensive country in the GCC for education, according to figures that also show fees highest in the Emirates for UK and Indian schools operating in the region.
Cost of Living Reports Middle East (CLR) found average school fees across all curriculums in the UAE as of Q4, 2013 were $10,250 a year, with the fees ranging from an average $2,263 for Kindergarten students to $18,237.25 for Year 12.
This was closely followed by Oman with average schools fees of $10,105, Saudi ($8,652), Kuwait ($8,461), Qatar ($8,3123) and Bahrain ($7,242).
In Oman fees ranged from an average $6,023 for Kindergarten to $14,186.25 for Year 12, with the range in Saudi $3,048 to $14,257, Kuwait ($5,283 to $11,638), Qatar ($3,473 to $13,152) and Bahrain ($3,696 to $10,788).
CLR said high school fees in the UAE – the fourth most expensive in the world for expats - were the result of high demand and restricted supply, forcing 87 percent of employees to spend more than their company allowance on school fees.
Citing a WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey, it said some expats were spending up to 30 percent of their annual income on school fees if at least two children were at school.
However, it warned the cost will affect the type of occupations the UAE was able to hire from abroad. “If education is too expensive we will see that the UAE will be less likely to attract middle and senior management positions, because these people have families and may not want to educate their children in an expensive, not necessarily better, educational system,” it said.
The CLR report found the Indian curriculum had the highest increase in applications, with Indian schools in Abu Dhabi receiving more than three times as many applications as they had places and turning away “hundreds of children”.
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