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Pvt schools await ministry's consent for tuition fee hike

Pvt schools await ministry's consent for tuition fee hike


Malek Helali
Doha
MANY private schools in Qatar are awaiting the approval of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to raise their tuition fees.
The schools are making out a case for fee hike to meet their growing expenses and maintain the quality of education as an increased number of students are seeking admission in their institutions.
"The need to raise the tuition fee is something we have felt this year. We decided last December to apply for an increase in our tuition fee to facilitate the growth and provide the necessary elements for a quality education," said Juha Repo, principal of the Qatar-Finland International School (QFIS).
Moreover, there is a pattern of growth that applies to most private schools and imposes a parallel need for a supportive budget."Most schools seem to be suffering from a pyramid structure where there is a huge demand of lower grade and KG seats," added Repo.
Explaining the increase in the number of students, the principal said:"We are experiencing a sharp growth in the number of students. When we started in 2014, we made a conscious choice to only take 100 students since we wanted to test the system, the premises and our staff. Then, in 2015, we had over 300 students. Now, we have almost 600 students."
"We already have our classes full for the next year - Grade 1 is full and Grade 0 is almost full. We were initially thinking about opening two classes for Grade 0, but we were forced to open a third one to accommodate other families with siblings who have to be given priority in admission," the principal added.
General Manager of the Tunisian School in Doha Amor Dhahri elaborated on the school's need for raising its tuition fees, stating that the number of students continue to grow yearly at a pace that requires the school's administration to increase their own expenses in different areas.
"The increasing number of applicants we get each year is unfortunately becoming more of a burden rather than an advantage. In order to accommodate the incoming applicants that add to the large number of existing students, we had to increase the number of teachers from 70 to 180. Moreover, in the light of the increase in cost of living in Qatar, salary of the teachers and staff also need to be augmented," Dhahri said. œThe number of students enrolled increased from 2,169 last year to over 2,500 in total with almost 500 students in our KG. We had to expand our premises in order to comply with the ministry's standards, which also added to our expenses in areas such as rent and safety measures as well as the needed licences and approvals from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and the Ministry of ¨Interior's Civil Defense. Therefore, raising our tuition fee has become a necessity,  he added.
Some of the Indian schools in Qatar catering to the large Indian expatriate population in the country are also seeking a raise in tuition fee.
Ideal Indian School (IIS) Principal Syed Shoukath Ali and Doha Modern Indian School (DMIS) Principal Rakesh Singh Tomar said that their schools have applied for a tuition fee increase from the ministry. Both principals stressed that their schools' efforts in improving the quality of education by introducing modern technologies and facilities contributed to the need for a raise in tuition fee.
œWe have installed more than 100 LED smart boards to maintain pace with latest methods of imparting education to students. We need to hike fees to keep introducing such latest technologies in our school,  explained the IIS principal.
DMIS Principal Rakesh Singh Tomar also confirmed that the school had applied for a fee hike from the next academic session.
œDMIS has invested a lot to introduce new technologies to upgrade quality of education in the school in the last one year. We have always maintained the same number of students in a class as directed by the ministry. We need to increase the fee to meet our rising expenses,  he said.
When contacted, a senior official at DPS-MIS said: œSchools need to raise their fees to meet growing expenses. The management might have applied for a fee hike, but we are not aware of it. 
The QFIS principal further said that the raise the school applied for was crucial in facilitating its quality maintenance. œAt the end of the day, we are not here to make any profit, the money goes directly to the teaching effort for the parents' and their children's benefit. We are here to collaborate with the ministry and support them, so a good finance is definitely something we're looking into,  he commented, adding: œI think it is a good idea on the ministry's part that the school needs to show evidence of a quality education before they can ask to raise their fees. 
The increase in the number of students is an issue for the Lebanese School of Qatar as well.
Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah, president of the Board of Trustees of the Lebanese School of Qatar, said: œWe have over 2,300 students currently enrolled with the school. And there are around 700 students on the waitlist. Even though we cannot accommodate them all, I urge those who wish to join our school to be patient as we are working hard in solving the lack of vacancy issue. 

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