With annual school fees ranging in cost from AED 5,000 to over AED 100,000, education can be seriously expensive. Only UAE citizens are allowed access to government run schools, meaning expats have to enroll in one of the many private schools in the country.
School fees are regulated by the Education Cost Index (ECI) on an annual basis – last year the rate was 2.92%, with schools rated ‘good’ allowed to increase their fees by 1.5 times the ECI with ‘outstanding’ schools able to charge up to double the ECI at 5.84%. In total, 117 schools raised their school fees in 2015, with more increases expected at the end of the school term this summer (2016). Prices increase as the child gets older, with some schools doubling the price from start to finish.
High end schools might also ask for a personal debenture of up to AED 25,000, AED 200 for a medical and AED 2,000 for a deposit against loss or damage to school property.
Any quoted fees are for tuition only: bus fares, uniforms, books, field trips and musical instruments are all extra costs for the parents. Typically, annual bus fees can be AED 5,000, books, stationery another AED 1,000 and school uniform around AED 800.
Schools will also expect a one off registration fee which has been capped by the Knowledge and Human Development Agency (khda.gov.ae) at AED 500. Schools will also demand AED 5,000-7000 to secure their seat after they’ve cleared the school’s assessment.
Schools can charge up to 10% of the tuition fees as a re-registration deposit to confirm return of existing students in the new academic year.