Paying for Education in Dubai: Is it really worth it Paying for Education in Dubai: Is it really worth it
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March 2017
By: ​Dr. Mona El-Sholkamy| ​Dr. Yasser Al-Saleh
Concerns from parents in Dubai about the rising cost of school fees are becoming increasingly common. In response, private education providers argue that their tuition fees have only risen in accordance with guidelines set by  authorities that allow an increase of up to 6.5% if annual inspections by the statutory regulator show that they deliver ‘outstanding’ quality of education. This paper investigates whether the rise in fees that has been made on this basis is justified, through an analysis of student test results, a cost-benefit analysis and Return On Investment projections that estimate expected monetary rewards among school graduates. Our primary conclusion is that while future benefits are likely to exceed the high investment required to educate a child at a school rated as “outstanding”, “very good”, or “good”; parents tend to be concerned because the trend in PISA school performance results show that education standards have not increased at the same rate that fees have.

Policy issues are discussed and recommendations made for reigning in fees and addressing underlying structural factors that hinder system performance.

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