Raffles International School. Picture for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As distance learning gets extended up till the end of the academic term as a step to check the spread of COVID-19, more educational institutions in the UAE are slashing their fees to accommodate parents’ requests as they cope with the global pandemic fallout.

Innoventures Education, which manages the Collegiate American School, Dubai International Academy Al Barsha, Dubai International Academy Emirates Hills, Raffles International School, Raffles World Academy and Raffles Starters (Early Learning Centre), on Thursday announced a 20 per cent reduction in Term 3 school fees to help parents cope with the financial impact of the global shutdown.

According to the new relief measures announced, 20 per cent of Term 3 fees (April to June 2020) will be applied as a credit towards Term 1 fees for 2020-2021. Students who leave at the end of academic year 2019-2020 to relocate out of Dubai and have already paid fees in full will receive a refund equivalent to 10 per cent of Term 3 fees on withdrawal.

The group said it has developed a relief programme for all parents affected by the global shutdown. The progamme covers applications received for need-based assistance, including personalised fee payment plans, deferment of fees, interest-free instalment plans for all school fee payments made by credit card, and a refund or rollover of bus and cafeteria fees. These are all need-based and subject to the school’s discretion.

Parents will also get a waiver of re-enrolment fees for 2020-2021 if the fees for 2019-2020 have been paid in full, in addition to interest-free monthly payment plan agreements through select banking partners. All new enrolments will also get a 10-5 per cent reduction in enrolment fee for academic year 2020–2021.

Poonam Bhojani, CEO Innoventures Education, said: “We understand that many of our students and their families are going through a critical time, and we want to do as much as we can to support them. We hope this reduction in fees will bring some relief to parents, who can focus on the health and wellbeing of their loved ones. Innoventures Education remains committed to doing its very best in the interests of its students, parents and staff to ensure the highest standards of international education.”

30 per cent cut at Canadian University Dubai

On Wednesday, Canadian University Dubai (CUD) also announced a 30 per cent reduction in fees for both new and returning students, to help distressed parents during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We understand the strain parents and students are going through following the disruption caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 and we empathize with them. In the light of the current challenging situation where parents might be losing jobs or getting salary cuts, we are pleased to offer a 30 per cent reduction in fess for both new and returning students across all our Undergraduate and Graduate programmes,” said Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chancellor, Canadian University Dubai.

“This financial relief is part of our role to support parents and students as they struggle to tide over the crisis. As an educator with a community commitment, we believe it is our responsibility to find ways to encourage continued education in these tough times,” added Professor Karim Chelli, President and Vice-Chancellor, Canadian University Dubai.

Meanwhile, the university’s IT department has ensured a seamless delivery of over 80 hours of coursework shifted to a virtual environment. This included over 60 hours of training for faculty. The IT team is also working hard to respond quickly to technical issues that arise from students, faculty and staff. Since beginning of online classes on March 22, the IT team has overseen and supported over 310 online meetings, over 40,000 online meeting minutes with over 6,500 attendees, the university said in a statement.