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Tue 6 Sep 2016 12:28 PM

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The cost of education in the UAE? AED1m per child

Gulf state ranks as the most expensive country in the world to educate a child from pre-school to degree level

The cost of education in the UAE? AED1m per child
(Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

The cost of a full education up to degree level per child in the UAE is almost AED1 million ($250,000), making it the most expensive country in the world, according to research by insurance giant Zurich.

The figure, which excludes multiple interest rates, is based on the total cost of education of two years at pre-school, six years at primary school, six years at secondary school and three years at a British university.

Pre, primary, and secondary school costs in the UAE total an average of almost AED530,000 ($145,000) per child.

The costs exclude fees such as cost of books, uniforms, and trips, which could increase the figure by 40 percent for top-level schools.

As for tertiary education, it costs an average of over AED 76,000 ($21,000) per year for UAE-based universities in comparison to AED55,000 ($15,000) in Australia and Canada, AED85,000 ($23,000) in the US, and AED57,000 ($15,500) in the UK.

Extra costs of basic living expenses per UAE student studying in the UK for a three-year course amount to almost AED235,000 ($64,000).

“A typical family with two children could look at spending as much as AED2 million on education,” Amrita Sethi, head of marketing and communication for Zurich International Life, Middle East, said in a statement.

“While some employers in the UAE contribute to education costs at primary and secondary level, the majority of people are left having to pay these costs themselves, with 70 percent of parents funding their child’s university education from day-to-day income, according to HSBC’s recent The Value of Education Foundations for the Future report. It’s a huge expense that, without proper savings and financial planning, is very difficult to meet and often at the opportunity cost of planning for other important goals, such as retirement,” says Sethi.

HSBC’s report also revealed 64 percent of parents in the UAE are willing to get into debt to fund their children’s university education while 41 percent of parents prioritise their child’s education over their own retirement.

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sham 3 years ago

We are sorry to say but this is the truth and lots of parents are suffering and in debt due to this reason. Also, the parents have no other options but to shift to cheaper schools regularly, or incur huge debts. Also there is a waiting period of 4 -5 years for lots of schools. We hope there is a solution which can educate children without burden.

Darryl 3 years ago

As I have been posting going on years now, this is completely unjustifiable. The for profit business model of educational delivery does not provide any extra benefits to the consumer other than access to education itself in a 'private' market place, where the Gov does not collect taxes and thus education is not provided.

In short, it is a disgrace but completely understandable in this system.

Charlie 3 years ago

I would like to know what is the quality of education is compared to those countries listed? I would venture to say you don't get what you pay for.

Alan 3 years ago

Time to end the monopoly as one private education company continues to build schools and dominate here. They raise fees at every opportunity! It's at ++ system here that they clearly take advantage of but give little back to help parents cope with rising fees annually.

JPS 3 years ago

As much as we sympathize with the situation, the key is for the authorities to come with a suitable solution and subsidise education. There is no point blaming the biggest education provider in the UAE, as they are just making the best of the situation and of course making a huge profit.

No point asking them to shut down or provide better quality. There is a global shortage of teachers worldwide. I have spoken to school owners and all have mentioned the high costs in maintaining, salaries, checks, securities, protocols etc is very expensive. Finally the end-users (parents ) share the brunt.

Billy 3 years ago

I have educated 4 children through the Dubai system and so have some experience in this matter. The cost is and always has been unjustifiable. It is time the government stepped in not to provide the education but to force any education establishment to publish its accounts for all to see. There should also be a cap on permitted profits in this sector. The standard of education in one or maybe two of the long established schools such as Dubai College is very good but as for the rest forget it and the standards are falling. I returned my younger two to the UK when they were 14 and 16 and the difference in the stage they were at in their education was astonishing. My 16 year old was at the top of her class in her Dubai private school and just scraped into a state grammar school. The 14 year old had to be held back a year to catch up and he too was in the top half of his class in Dubai. My advice is to send your kids home at the age of 11...better schools and no fees to pay.

Not in Dubai 3 years ago

A very simple question. Who is the Local partner of that one private education company? Now you know why the fees as they are. I had a son in JESS. JESS is only as good as a good local state school in the UK.....

Telcoguy 3 years ago

The benefits of the education fall mostly to the person who gets the education, and payback is through taxes.
Given that:
1) there is no income taxation in the UAE
2) population is transient
3) there is no wish to change any of the above

There is absolutely no reason for the UAE to spend money subsidizing the education of their guests' children, please stop confusing what you would like with what is reasonable.