KHDA has already asked schools to refund bus fees for the third term.
Several UAE families who are facing pay cuts because of the ongoing restrictions caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic have said they cannot afford to pay the school fees in full.
As Khaleej Times reported earlier this week, parents had raised concerns about paying transportation and uniform fees in addition to full tuition fees. Students across the country are continuing their education via e-learning as actual classes remain suspended as a precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19.
However, providing a solution to these parents, Dubai’s private school regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), has asked parents to reach out to their schools and express their concerns as soon as they can.
The KHDA clarified these doubts in its frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on its website. It said, “Your school relies on your fees to keep providing education. If you’re concerned you won’t be able to pay fees in full, please discuss this with your school as soon as you can.” Last week, the KHDA also ordered that bus fees for term 3 for Indian and Pakistani schools must be refunded to parents.
Schools support parents
Fortunately, several school groups have come forward in support of parents struggling to pay fees. Innoventures Education, the school group which manages Dubai International Academy, Collegiate American School, Raffles International School, and Raffles World Academy, has announced a number of measures across its schools to help parents cope with the financial impact of the global crisis.
The group is providing parents with personalised payment plans and deferment of fees for families who have lost jobs, had salary cuts, been placed on unpaid leave, including self-employed professionals or business owners who may be struggling to pay fees as a direct result of the pandemic.
“This is in addition to the interest-free instalment plans for all school fee payments made by credit card,” said an official statement. Furthermore, the group announced that all bus transport and cafeteria providers will offer a roll-over of credit to the next academic year or offer refunds for payments made from April to June 2020.
On Wednesday, the UAE’s largest school operator Gems Education announced it will “means-test” parents before considering cutting tuition fees. The group, which manages more than 250 schools across the globe serving about 174,000 pupils, said relief packages would be focused on those who have lost jobs, been placed on unpaid leave or suffered pay cuts.
UAE-based Pace Education Group has waived transport fees with education having gone online. The group operates six schools in the country.
Though the support from schools have relieved some parents, a few have criticised the schools for “not doing enough”. “I think all schools should waive their fees as parents are sitting with half pay at home,” said Rashid Kunhi on the Khaleej Times Facebook page.
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