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DPS Sharjah Image Credit: Gulf News

Sharjah: The Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) has advised parents, who have complained of a fee hike in Delhi Private School (DPS) Sharjah, to approach the school with their concerns.

After receiving a petition from aggrieved parents about DPS Sharjah increasing the fees for the 2020-2021 academic year, the authority wrote back saying the school had a prior approval to increase fees for the current year.

“We recommend that families, who have been adversely affected and are unable to fulfil expected payments, to contact their school for support and guidance on the next steps. SPEA recommends that schools and parents come together compassionately to find a solution that is agreeable to both,” the authority stated in its reply.

Parents told Gulf News that they had filed a petition to the authority and the school management after the school announced the fee hike and initially asked them to “ensure that the first term fee is paid to avail e-learning” before it begins on April 12.

However, following the response from the SPEA, parents said the school has offered the facility of monthly payment of fees for the first term.

Parents’ concerns

“When UAE authorities are asking school managements to support the parent community and many educational groups here are announcing fee cuts and waivers, it is unfair thaat we have o pay a higher fee,” said one parent whose son is in grade 10.

“The school has increased the annual fee for Grades 10, 11 and 12 to Dh15,200 from last year’s Dh14,445,” she said.

Another parent, whose two children are studying in the school, said students from KG1 to Grade 9 had also been notified of an increase. “We cannot afford any increase in fee at this time. We were actually expecting the school to offer a discount in the existing fees.”

Extension of support

In its latest circular, the school said it is addressing the concerns of those who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

It stated that the school has identified those requiring immediate support and asked “single income parent, mandatorily, who has lost their jobs due to COVID 19 or placed on unpaid leave due to COVID 19, to apply to the school with the necessary documents”.

However, some parents said many have been verbally told about salary cuts or leave without pay and providing documentary evidence prior to the start of e-learning sessions on Sunday would not be feasible.

Dinesh Kothari, managing director of DPS Sharjah and Dubai, told Gulf News that parents also need to be considerate about the school’s expenses while it retains the auxiliary staff and for maintaining the school infrastructure though classes have gone online.

“We had not increased the fee in the past two years and the monthly fee increase is minimal. We have been supporting students in deserving cases by providing scholarships.”

He said the school had provided Dh400,000 worth of scholarships to such students last year.