No changes in school fees for next year in Dubai: KHDA


School fees will remain unchanged for the next academic year, according to information posted on the website of education regulator Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

The updated FAQs section on the authority’s website has confirmed that schools and universities in Dubai will be allowed to operate from the start of the 2020/21 academic year, provided they comply with its directives on health and safety protocols.

In response to a question on how this development would affect school fees, the KHDA said fees would remain as they currently are, adding, “We ask schools and parents to come together in the best interests of children to ensure that learning continues.”

The KHDA clarified several other points about what the new school experience might look like.

Health and safety guidelines

In response to whether schools would be the same as it was before the pandemic, the authority said, “For the foreseeable future, schools will have to comply with health and safety guidelines to protect everyone against infection. These mean that school may not look or feel the same as before the pandemic.”

The authority said each school would have its own way of complying with these health and safety protocols, and that parents can expect their ward’s school to communicate these with them at the earliest opportunity.

Several conditions have been stipulated to protect the students and staff in this regard. These include:

> Screening all students and staff for temperature at entry point to the school
> Maintaining physical distance guidelines as recommended by the relevant health authorities and reducing the head-count capacity in classrooms
> Limiting gatherings and suspending group activities such as school celebrations, and sports events
> Organising and managing the students’ working day, including mealtimes to avoid high concentrations of students in one place.
> Sterilising the school building, classrooms, laboratories and other facilities regularly
> Ensuring that support and maintenance service staff do not enter the school when students and staff are present
> Appointing a trained health and safety official to ensure that people and processes in the school comply with health and safety protocol.

The KHDA further confirmed that school-wide events and activities such as assemblies, sports days, international days or performances would not be allowed to go ahead for now.

Students would be allowed to engage in physical education classes. However, for the time being, swimming pools would be closed.

With regard to a query on whether buses would be operational, the KHDA said, “Buses will be able to operate at 30 per cent capacity, and must also comply with health and safety protocols.”

These include:

> Taking the temperatures of all passengers boarding the bus
> Keeping windows open as much as possible
> Disinfecting handles, rails and other frequently used areas of the bus

Parental concerns

For parents concerned about sending their kids back to school for safety reasons, the KHDA acknowledged that returning to school could be a worrisome time for parents and students.

However, it assured that schools would be following specific health and safety guidelines to protect students and staff.

Parents who still feel nervous about sending their kids to school are encouraged to speak with the school to learn more about how they’re approaching health and safety, and what parents can do to play their part. “Being safe at school is everyone’s responsibility,” said the authority.

As for whether parents could opt to keep their children home till such time as they felt it was safe, the KHDA said arrangements would be subject to individual schools. “Each school will be offering different options for learning in the new academic year, in consultation with parents. Please check with your child’s school to see what options are available to you,” it said.

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