Dubai: Horizon International School (HIS) in Dubai has reduced tuition fees by up to 33 per cent for the next academic year, joining at least two other premium Dubai schools that also slashed fees for the 2018-19 cycle.
The upmarket British school, which has over 800 students, made the decision to “flatten” its fee structure for a more even progression into secondary school years.
For the next academic year, which starts in September, the base for reduced fees will range from Dh48,335 (for Years 4 and 5; a seven per cent drop) to Dh65,000 (for Years 12 and 13; a 33 per cent fall).
Earlier this month, Gulf News reported that Repton School Dubai and Foremarke School Dubai will reduce fees by around 10 per cent for the new academic year.
It is rare for Dubai schools to slash tuition fees outright, although many offer discount schemes or scholarships.
On Sunday, Lee Davies, headmaster of Horizon International School told Gulf News that the school, located in Umm Sheif, wanted the transition from lower to higher grades to be financially more sustainable for parents.
“Consultation is probably the best way to describe the process [of the fee reductions]. Obviously, I’m talking with parents all the time, and one of the things that does come up reasonably frequently is the cost of education to them. But in our context, it was the steep rise of [Year] fees, particularly when you go up into the secondary school,” Davies said.
“So at the primary level, we are extremely good value for money — Dh34,500 for Foundation Stage in the British premium sector is a very, very good offering. But going right through to Dh96,000 was quite a steep acceleration of fees.”
Kenneth Jones, director of education at Al Najah Education, which owns HIS, said the announcement has generated interest in the school “and we expect that to continue”.
Jones added that the decision to reduce fees will not impact school revenue, explaining that “although we reduced the fees significantly where it was most expensive [in Years 12 and 13], we will undoubtedly end up attracting more students, so it will even itself up”.
Speaking in general terms, James Mullan, cofounder of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, said fee reductions are “indicative of the competition that exists in the Dubai school market right now, particularly at the higher end”.
Mullan added: “They’re quite a few schools that will not be publicising fee reductions, but they will be open to discussions on an individual basis with parents. Three or four years ago, schools wouldn’t have listened at all.”