Many parents have expressed deep concern over the increase in fees ahead of the start of the new academic year. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Abu Dhabi: A total of 40 private schools across Abu Dhabi have received approval from the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) to increase their fees just ahead of the 2011/2012 academic year, it was announced by the council on Wednesday.

According to a statement sent by Adec, the fee increases will amount to 6.6 per cent for tuition, 5.3 per cent for books, 0.7 per cent for uniforms and 12.3 per cent for transportation.

"We had received these requests in November and December 2010 from Asian schools while those following the standard calendar submitted their requests in March and April 2011. The approvals were granted between January and July 2011," said Yousuf Al Shiriyani, Executive Director of the Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector in Adec.

Asian schools follow a curriculum calender from April to March, rather than September to August for Standard Calendar schools. In Abu Dhabi, these are mainly Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi schools.

Parents concerned

Parents, meanwhile, expressed concern over the hike close to the start of the new academic year. Leena Lathish, an accountant and mother of two from India, said that her son's school, the Private International English School in Mussafah, had not issued any notices regarding the fee hike in the new academic year.

"My son, who is a grade three pupil, used to attend Sherwood Academy before we transferred him. We haven't heard of any fee increases in his new school. But it's unfair that schools are being given approval to increase their fees especially since many people are still losing their jobs and struggling to ensure that their families have a good standard of living," she said.

Al Shiriyani said the council took various factors into account before granting any approvals requested by the schools.

"We initially received fee increase requests from 60 schools across the emirate. However, 20 were rejected because of different elements including insufficient improvement plans or the school's financial case was weak or unreliable; also, there were some schools whose profitability was already high," Al Shiriyani said.

No hike in Dubai

There will be no fee increase in Dubai this year following an announcement in March that private schools will not be allowed to increase fees in the new academic year (2011-12).

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) had received applications from at least 36 schools seeking permission to increase their fees this year. However, the fee hike plans were thwarted following the ruling.

The ruling was issued by the Dubai Executive Council after His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, called on members of the Council to pursue their work bearing in mind the interests of the nation as per the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The decision was taken in response to recommendations put forth by the Social Development Committee.

With inputs Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter