The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum schools should be made affordable in the UAE, a top educationalist said in Abu Dhabi.
IB director-general Siva Kumari told Khaleej Times the tuition fees charged by private schools in the UAE is “very high”, unlike elsewhere in the world. Fees per student for a Dubai-based American IB World School starts north of Dh61,100 and the KG 1 seat at a recently opened ‘”affordable” British school comes at Dh30,400.
“We have no control over how schools charge as tuition fees. We don’t tell them how to operate. I understand the fees here are very high but it has nothing to do with the IB. It’s a decision taken by the schools. We charge schools the same fees for our programmes whether it’s a private or a public one.”
The IB offers three programmes – diploma, middle years and primary years. Schools pay the IB annual fees starting $8,520 (Dh31,200) depending on the programmes.
“It will be really good to see more IB schools start here at a lower price point. The IB shouldn’t be available just for a certain price point,” she said on the sidelines of the IB Global Conference, being held for the first time in the Middle East.
48 IB World Schools in UAE
Kumari said the high fee is a pattern seen among private schools and hoped situations will improve as demand rises. “As of now, there are 48 IB World Schools in the UAE. Eventually, more schools come along. It is just the nature of growth in the private sector. If there is demand, there will be more schools coming up and, hopefully, at lower price points.”
She added that she hoped public schools will also embrace the IB programmes. “It would be great if the UAE Government to consider have the IB curriculum in one or two public schools, so that it can be accessible to more Emirati students.”
Kumari pointed out that IB programmes empowered students with life-long skills. “The kind of education we are promoting is fit for the future. It’s not about just taking exams but applying everything they know. They are well-prepared to go into the university because they have to write and read a lot. The first year in the university is really easy for many of our students.”