Private schools in Dubai that have collected tuition fees in advance have to refund the advance or risk facing licensing issues.
Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has reiterated its warning of last week, without going into the precise action it has in mind for continued refusal to comply.
Khaleej Times reports many parents have written to Khaleej Times to complain that some schools threaten forfeiture of seats if fees are not paid in advance.
Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Licensing and Customer Relations at KHDA, said in a statement to Khaleej Times: “The Licensing Department views very seriously the situation of the schools that deviate from the rules.
“Such schools are at the risk of their academic licence being affected.” Meanwhile, they have been allowed to make amends.
“Schools that have already managed to collect the advance fees, “Darwish said, “have been asked to return it to the parents and rectify the situation immediately to avoid any action.”
Schools are not allowed to take advanced fees but they may retain the registration deposit of 5 per cent of the school fees, up to a maximum of Dh 500.
Education Ministry’s bylaws are clear: schools may take fees only at the beginning of each semester or month. They cannot force the parents to pay fees in advance. KHDA remains in touch with individual schools to guard against continued defiance from some of the private schools in the emirate.
Parents lament that schools were giving them little choice. “I have already paid the first term fee as the school’s circular clearly states that if we do not pay now, a seat cannot be guaranteed for the next academic year,” said an Indian parent whose child studies at the International School of Choueifat, Dubai. The parent, who requested not to be named, said he had to pay nearly Dh 9000 to cover tuition and transport costs.
An Arab parent from the same school, also requesting anonymity. said, “We are usually given until mid-March to pay the fees and have to pay the second term fees at the beginning of the first term,” said
John Kassis, director of The International School of Choueifat, Abu Dhabi, maintained, “We are following the Ministry of Education’s regulations,” The director of the school in Dubai remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts to reach him.
Though Raffles International School (RIS) exempted parents from paying a re-registration fee, it told parents that seats would be secured after payment of the first instalment, along with two post-dated cheques. “The school does not seem to respect the government rules, or parents, when they ask us to pay right away,” said a British parent.
RIS stated in defence that it was adhering to KHDA regulations. “Raffles International Schools have a strong waiting list, and to ensure that seat allotment for the next academic year can be fairly and effectively streamlined, we have requested parents to re-register their students and to present post-dated cheques for the requisite fees, which is common local practice in the education sector,” they said in a written statement “The post-dated cheques will not be monetised till the new term begins, and they are being asked for only to ensure that the new admissions can be better managed.”