Worried about school fees in Dubai next year? Well, this is exactly how worried (or not) you have to be…

The Dubai government has just announced that private schools in Dubai will be able to increase their tuition fees by between 2.4 to 4.8 per cent next year.

The rate allowed for 2017-2018 fee hikes is based on the Education Cost Index (ECI) by the Dubai Statistics Centre. They take into account school operating costs – from teachers’ salaries to rent, maintenance, water charges etc – when setting the allowed increase.

Whether schools can raise their fees by 2.4 per cent or 4.8 per cent will depend on their Knowledge and Human Development Authority rating. Schools that have been deemed ‘outstanding’ will be eligible to raise their fees by 4.8 per cent; ‘very good’ schools 4.2 per cent, ‘good’ schools 3.6 per cent and all other schools by 2.4 per cent.

Just as an example, Dubai’s most expensive schools have fees of around Dhs100,000 a year. If a school with these fees raised their prices by the maximum amount permitted, a year there would cost a student Dhs104,800.

(Cue parents rushing off to find out how their children’s school did in the ranking… one of the only times you hope for anything but academic excellence.)

*Here are Dubai’s most expensive (and cheapest) private schools*


The maximum school fee increases outstrip the UAE’s inflation rate, which was a weak 1.7 per cent in 2016, and is expected to be around 2.8 per cent in 2017.

Only 16 schools have been deemed outstanding by the KHDA: these include Gems Modern Academy, The Indian High School, Kings School Dubai, Dubai College, Dubai English Speaking Private College and Gems Dubai American Academy. Meanwhile, 13 schools were given the ‘very good’ rating this year.

“Schools can adjust their costs in line with the fees framework that takes into account the quality of education offered at private schools in Dubai,” said Mohammed Darwish, the KHDA’s chief of regulations and permits commission.

“It protects parents from arbitrary increases and provides an effective mechanism to balance the expectations of school investors and parents.”


But remember, just because a school can raise their fees doesn’t mean they will. 


Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at education provider Taaleem, told Gulf Business that most schools within its network will keep fees unchanged.

“After listening closely to our parents and being aware of the increasing financial pressures many families are facing we made two announcements in November 2016, for the academic year 2017-18. These were firstly, not to implement a fee increase irrespective of this year’s announcement of ECI, and secondly to offer new sibling discounts and improved payment terms for our families.”

Talaleem’s schools include Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, Al-Mizhar American Academy and Jumeira Baccalaureate School.

However, some of the more affordable schools in Dubai will perhaps raise their fees in order to try and improve their rating, Pierrepont said: “Many of the low fee schools are advised, after inspection, that to increase or consolidate their rating, they must invest more in technology, significantly improve their facilities and improve the quality and the training of their staff. This requirement for improvement often requires very substantial investment.”

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Photo: Getty