UAE | Education

Westminster School in Dubai will close down

Fee regulations have made the British curriculum school unsustainable

  • Anjana Sankar Staff Reporter, XPRESS
  • Published: 18:13 December 16, 2012
  • Gulf News


The Westminster School in Dubai that has a strength of around 5,000 students will close down from June 2014, GEMS education announced yesterday.

Fee regulations imposed by the Dubai government has made the British curriculum school unsustainable, according to GEMS, the UAE’s single biggest school operator.

“In recent times GEMS’ ability to invest the resources required to produce the improvements needed, both educationally and in infrastructure, have been severely restricted because of the current fee structure. At the Westminster School, over the past five years the average fee increase, per annum, has been just Dh167. That equates to around Dh13 a month. For two of the past five years there has been no fee increase at all,” GEMs said in a statement issued to Gulf News.

A spokesman for the school said GEMS believes that using a percentage fee increase based on inspection outcomes doesn’t work for low fee paying schools because of the diversity and breadth of education in the UAE.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority, that approved the closure of the school ,was not available for comment.

The school located in the Al Ghusais area charges a tuition fee between Dh5,000 to Dh10,000 for KG to Grade 12.

“GEMS cannot offer a high quality education at this level. Salary increases during the same period have been at a level higher than any fee awards,” GEMS told parents in a letter issued on Sunday.

Parents who spoke with XPRESS said they are shocked at the news as Westminster is one of the most affordable British curriculum schools in Dubai.

“I got the letter today and we still have not figured out what to do. The school was very affordable compared to most of the other British schools in Dubai,” said Zafar, a parent. His daughter is studying in KG1.

According to him, tuition fees in other British curriculum schools including the newly opened Westminster school in Sharjah is more than double.

“I have two kids studying in the school. I will have to cough up double the current fee if I have to send them to any other British school in Dubai,” said Manazir Abbas, another parent.

GEMS said it will give priority placement for Westminster students in other GEMS schools from 2013 onwards.

With inputs by Noor Nazzal, an intern at Gulf News

Comments (30)

  1. Added 19:06 December 17, 2012

    the school management text me yesterday regarding to the future of the school.shockingly,the decision is made to put the future of more than 5000 students into the darkness just for the sake of is reasonable to allow the school to increase the fee to a reasonable extent i,e upto 10-20 % rather than to shift the other school costing double the amount of a single child.Rather, the school has not communicated with the parents regarding their decision.We the parents of TWS dubai'students request KHDA look into this urgent and painful matter.PLEASE!

    raza ali, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 19:01 December 17, 2012

    it a shocking news. I have 3 children study in TWS and transfer is not easy. First I will not find the place in one school as my children in grade 11,8 and 4 and second it cost me to must therefor I request Govt. must review and make arrangement it is a matter of 5000 student future and burden on parents.

    Ahsan, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 18:56 December 17, 2012

    must take action !

    ans, ajman, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 18:48 December 17, 2012

    i am student of grade 8 since 8 years i have been in this amazing school and i am really disappointed that this is closing down

    anonymous, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 18:46 December 17, 2012

    I have never heard in my whole life that school shut down, schools are opened forever, it is not barbar shop or grocery shop that one year didnt get profit than shut down, it is education platform, children spend their time in school more than thier home, who will accomodate 5000 to 6000 children in their school, if this current administration cannot run the school than they should handover the school to new management, it should be run as usual, i am requesting on behalf of all parents whose children are studying in this school, please dont close this school, schools are like masjid and church, that never shut down, they are opened for ever, if current administraion is happy to increase 10% to 15% increase in the fees, than i am ready for it, we will do extra hard work for the future of our children. please revert your decition, Almighty Allah will reward you.

    Muhammad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 18:33 December 17, 2012

    i am studying in this school from kg 1 and i love the school members nd it deserves to reamin opened

    mohtashem, ajman, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 18:20 December 17, 2012

    I hope KHDA gets involved here, a compromise is enforced upon all parties here, because its just not about a Business Model, the future of 5000 students are at stake. KHDA please allow a significant fee hike, which many parents are willing to pay, since we have to shell out this extra amount anyways as all other schools are very expensive, so why not pay here itself. Please save our School #KeepTWS.

    Asif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 18:17 December 17, 2012

    I personally have experienced moving from one school to another, but i have to say my 8 years at The Westminster School has been the best phase if my schooling life. Westminster students relationship with the staff, is not like any other school, at TWS We Are A Family.Its heart breaking, depressing when people bring up this topic. Why shut down a school just cause it doesn't generates enough of income, education is a service ,not a business. We may have a low fees structure,which we are letting the group hike, however, we have produced better results than any of the schools which pay almost more than.I really hope they can work something out :'( To them The Westminster may be JUST a School ,but to me (and im sure to many others), The Westminster is MY HOME. :'( One Love, Westminster :'(

    Andre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 17:42 December 17, 2012

    5,000 students and teachers are at stake. Their faith is in the hands of education merchants. They always come up with lame excuses. I hope that the authorities will find a reasonable solution.

    Ali Raza, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 16:51 December 17, 2012

    I prefer to send my kids back to my country, education is becoming to expensive in the UAE and the quality of teaching is not all good. Secondly kids are more happy being in there homeland. Salary is not going up, every thing else is going up, life is becoming very hard.

    karim, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  11. View more comments

Gulf News