Parents are still feeling the pinch of hefty school expenses, despite the tuition fees being frozen across all Dubai schools this academic year.
The Dubai Executive Education Council had announced earlier this year that all private schools across Dubai will not be allowed to raise their tuition fees for the 2018-2019 academic year in order to reduce financial burden on parents.
However, parents who spoke to Khaleej Times said that the increasing costs of books, uniforms and transportation are still causing financial problems for them.
A mother of three children, Muniza Ayaz, said she paid Dh275 for KG1 books last academic year, however, she had to pay Dh850 this year for KG2 books – more than double the price.
“For grade 4, I bought books for Dh750 and for grade 6, it was Dh775. This year, the books for grade 5 are for Dh903. I don’t know how we’re supposed to manage all of these expenses in the same salary.”
Maryam Fatima, a mother of three children, said she paid Dh3,700 for books for her three children this year.
“As for the books, I would say it’s the most irritating topic you can talk about. We pay more than Dh1,000 for each set of books and the kids are still reading from PowerPoint instead of books. They also keep changing syllabus in mid-year, which is a big bash for parents.”
Parents are getting fed up of high uniform costs and many have complained that they are of “cheap quality”, causing them to purchase more in the middle of the school year.
A mother of two children, Ambreen Haroon Moeen, said she paid Dh524 for only one set of uniforms for each of her sons. She said she will be using last year’s uniforms to save cost, however, she is appalled at the price of the uniforms.
“Shirt and trousers are Dh121 each and don’t forget – we have to buy socks, belt, tie and PE uniform as well. The pullovers for winter used to be Dh60 and now they are Dh74 each,” Moeen said. “Not to mention that they quality of uniforms have become even worse.”
“I’m a mother of two born and brought up myself in UAE and it hurts me to see that a lovely country that I have resided in since my birth has used so much of my time, sweat and blood and still in return I don’t get peace of mind but stress and depression due to cost of living, paying rents and above all giving the best education to my kids. Our husbands struggle day and night to make a better living for his family but when it comes to paying increased school fees, buying new uniforms (increased prices and VAT) and new books. The stress levels go even higher and the struggle becomes more”,” Moeen added.
One parent, however, said she doesn’t mind paying for uniforms as a no-uniform school would be more costly for her. Alicia Hol pays 1,500 yearly for books for her three children.
“I don’t begrudge paying for uniforms as I think wearing their own clothes would work out much more expensive and put a lot of stress into morning preparations. I also use the Facebook pages to buy second hand wherever I can, then pass uniforms down to the next child,” Hol said.
A growing number of parents are trying to pick and drop their kids to school in an effort to avoid hefty transportation costs.
A parent of three kids, Alicia Hol, drops two of her children off to school and only one of them takes the school bus, which costs the family Dh2,000 per term.
A parent of two boys, Ambreen Haroon Moeen, does not use the transportation offered by the school for a cost.
“I don’t send them by bus because we cannot afford it as it’s Dh4,000 per person, so, I do pick and drop, which is more economical,” Moeen said.
Some parents, however, have no choice but to send their kids on the bus and have to pay the high cost.
A mother of three children, Maryam Fatima, pays Dh6,000 for transportation.
A mother of two children, Zainab Akber, pays Dh4,400 for transportation.
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