Parents rejoice, school staff lose jobs, after freeze on Dubai school fees
Teachers traditionally end up holding the short end of the stick when it comes to salaries or compensation for their hard work in school classrooms.
After an early June decision to freeze additional school fees in the academic year 2018-19, giving parents breathing space with tuition expenditures for their kids, some teachers and other school staff were left to pay the price.
And this after a record year in collected school fees.
Show me the money
Forbes Middle East said that Dubai’s Private Schools raked in $2 billion as fees in the 2017-2018 academic year through tuition fees alone from 194 private schools where 281,432 students from 182 different nationalities are enrolled.
This is up by almost 1% from the $1.9 billion that was recorded from the previous academic year of 2016-2017 with the rise in revenues attributed to 11 new schools that opened in the academic year 2017-18.
“In the previous academic years, the revenues from school fees were as follows: $1.28 billion in 2013-14, $1.4 billion in 2014-15, $1.7 billion in 2015-16 and $1.9 billion in 2016-17,” reported Forbes.
Indian students constituted a majority of Dubai’s student body with 95,368. They were followed by 30,747 Emiratis, 22,603 Pakistanis, 15,357 Egyptians and 13,329 British students.
The average fee paid for a student is about $7,315.
“This has led to some knock-on effect. Reportedly, Blackstone Group-backed GEMS Education announced their plans to freeze teachers’ salaries and slashed corporate jobs following the school fee freeze announcement by the government,” said Forbes.
GEMS Education, is planning to freeze teachers’ salary increases in 2019 and cut corporate jobs after the emirate said it would cap school fees, reported The National daily.
The daily said GEMS Education will also cut 75 jobs at its headquarters, quoting 3 sources who remained anonymous.
GEMS stated it invested “significantly in teacher salaries and benefits” over the past five years.
“The cumulative salary increase was 25-48% when the Education Cost Index only increased by approximately 11%,” UAE daily Khaleej Times, reported GEMS as stating.
GEMS owns and operates 47 schools and nurseries in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, according to its website.
The company told its education staff that Dubai’s decision to freeze tuition fees has had a “dramatic” impact on its future plans and that it has “significant” financial obligations to meet, according to a letter from GEMS Education chief executive Dino Varkey, as reported by The National.