The scandal of UAE school fees

Anil Bhoyrul argues that UAE schools are earning thousands of dollars for doing absolutely nothing


Anil, In the absence of an Ombudsman all we can rely upon is public embarrassment of these culprits. Why is nobody naming and shaming these schools?

We paid an application fee for our daughter in 2010. We haven't heard a thing from them since.

For the past week we have been trying to call them no less than 5 times a day to find out where we stand and what happened to our application and fee? We haven't even managed to get a human voice to take our call.


I did, but my comment was edited by the editor and unfortunately the name of the school was removed.


And why aren't you naming which school you applied to ? Which school have you been trying to contact 5 times a day ?

Concerned Parent

First of ALL NEVER rely on the Govt to rate schools. The UAE has the worst schools of any developed city in the World. I have had the same run around for years on years.

The absolute FIRST question that a SCHOOL needs to answer is HOW MANY STUDENTS WHO ACTUALLY FINISHED GRADE 12 WENT TO A REAL UNIVERSITY! If a school cannot furnish a list of their graduating class and clearly verify where the Grade 12 graduating class went to University then DONT APPLY TO THE SCHOOL! If the students LISTED only attend UAE Universities DONT send your kid to the school. University education in the UAE is a complete waste of time! IF a SCHOOL cannot produce students to enter SOLID Universities THEN DONT send your child regardless of age!

Second, UNDERSTAND clearly who the owners of the schools are and where they attended University - makes a big difference!

Three, VERIFY exactly where the teachers went to SCHOOL for the grade your child is entering!

Four, VERIFY the student teacher ratio!


Do you think teaching standards of outstanding schools in Dubai could compare with western countries or are this schools here outstanding only with their school fees and school fees increase every year?


I agree there are many schools that squeeze every speck of profit, I offer that there are schools in the Emirates that operate with a conscious. Private schools operate for profit, like every other business in the UAE. Otherwise, there would be no private schools and you would be forced to send your children to Arabic medium, national schools (which has only been an option for a few years). Bringing english speakers to teach is tremendously expensive, even before their first class. There are many facilities, supplies and equipment costs that occur even when the school is idle. So the app fee, goes to offset the expense of having a trained professional($) sit at a desk($) to welcome you, provide you with the paperwork($) necessary to apply, discuss with you with you the process, administer and review the placement test and if suitable and if space($) permits to place your child. This cannot be cost-free, not in a country where EVERYTHING has a premium.

A parent.

Let me share the arrogance of another school, this is what they told me when I confronted them with re-enrolment fees,a lthough my children had been in the same school for 8 yrs now! He said, "Its not only about education, this is BUSINESS, Sir!"


Telcoguy, where is the business ethics (legal resonposibility) here? You collect money for doing some service (say, evaluation). Where is the end-result? Did they even read that application form or Did anyone call me to say that the owner spent on a connie-burger? from Lagos?


I think its a foregone conclusion that it is a business. But a business needs to operate within some sort of ethical framework - people are paying fees to get their children enrolled into the school. Give them a call and notify them if they have been accepted or not. I'm sure that's not asking for too much given that people readily fork over hundreds of dirhams without batting an eyelid.


@ a parent. That's right, it's a business and as such the priority will be on money. Surely there is no surprise there? The only way around this is either to convince the government to open state schools or for the government to govern what fees schools can charge. Personally, I would not live in the GCC if I had kids.

Omar is back

Badly needed article Anil- Thank u! life in Dubai like many top global cities has its cons. greed in education like other sectors around is unfair & insane!Regulators must intervene ASAP and we hope more media & parents become more vocal to take action since all schools benefit from lack of punishment+it's a matter of demand! I said it in 2009 &repeat it today-Dubai is indispensable & a true unique top global destination esp. amid global crisis& zis means incredible demand on schools who raise T&C+fees as they wish since tons of parents r begging 24h for any seat! everything is full in Dubai, hotels, airport, taxi, hospitals,malls,metro& schools!don't moan look closer to home!education here is excellent since all teachers MUST submit US/UK/Aus degrees unless UK attests fake documents!Education is expensive evreywhere, z better z pricier! USA 1st, zen, England zen others. Wealthy in Japan or Germany go to US bcz it's z best- so r z American schools worldwide!Comments must be objective!


How can you say American schools are the best. American schools, especially those in America produce some of the lowest grades and ignorant students in developed countries. I wouldnt let my child near an American school for fear they would grow up ignorant.

Mum of 3

It is outrageous - but the enrolment fee is just the start.

After 6 years with another 'outstanding' school - they now charge a re-enrolment fee - to be paid to guarantee your ongoing place with the school and the fee is over 2,500 aed ... (maybe they expect the phone to ring a lot over the summer break). When I complained to the head of the school he had a secretary respond on his behalf - I assume he was too busy counting his money.

Of course it would be different if we had great teachers or a proper curriculum - they also have a high turnover of staff which is another issue.

People must complain to the KHDA and strip these schools of their outstanding rating - as that is the basis by which they calculate their next year fee increase. Knowledge and Human Development Authority
Block 8, Academic City,
P.O Box 500008,
Dubai, U.A.E.
Tel: +971-4-3640000
Fax: +971-4-3640001


Nice article on the target. Why do you think these so called real estate construction owners getting into education and healthcare. To rip you off. And the government of Dubai, least cared because of their connections. Now you know how people make quick money in Dubai. Shame.


the real scandal is the ratings system i hope you look into this. many schools have learned how to put on a great show when the inspectors come, and make sure they get an outstanding rating. it is an ever bigger scandal than that of the fees, please AB, look into this.


Schooling in Dubai is a pure money making scheme. Hence why my child get's a better education in a private school in home country.

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