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Dubai: parents attend “silent” protest over tuition hike

Dubai: parents attend “silent” protest over tuition hike

Parents of children enrolled in Dubai Modern High School met on Thursday to protest against the 90-110 percent fee hikes announced by GEMS this week. Who can blame them?

January 29, 2009 3:05 by



Parents of children enrolled in Dubai Modern High School, part of the GEMS group, expressed their anger and disapproval of the 90-110 percent tuition hikes the school plans to implement over the next two years at a “silent” rally in the school’s auditorium at 11am on Thursday January 29. Some parents sent emails to editors throughout Dubai to help give their plight more coverage.

At the school, the parents were met by the institution’s headmaster, Darryl Bloud.

Earlier in the week, the school released a statement claiming the fee hikes were due to the cost of building its new campus in the Nad Al Sheba district. The news, however, did not placate the distraught parents.

During the protest (which was anything but “silent”), parents complained that the school’s hikes suggested its management are “running the school like a business, not an education facility.”

Addressing the headmaster, one parent, who wished to remain anonymous, complained that the school had chosen an opportune time to announce the price hike: “Admission deadlines to other schools for the next academic year have already passed. We have no choice to but to keep our kids at this school. Clearly we are at the mercy of the management,” he said.

Hours after the protest, Dino Varkey, GEMS senior director of business development, released a statement to the press in response to the allegations made by parents stating that: “The construction of the new school, that is costing AED240 million, has been underway for the last two years, and parents have been kept regularly informed of progress. They have also been informed of a substantial increase in fees.”

“Today’s meeting was attended by around 200 parents who voiced their questions and concerns about the relocation,” Varkey added. “For these students and parents, [Dubai Modern High School] DMHS is providing all the support it can to achieve as smooth a transfer as possible to another GEMS school, and for those parents that do not want to move to another school, DMHS will discuss other options with them, pertaining to their specific circumstances.”

Do you think the parents will be placated by the management’s statement?



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20 Comments

  1. dubai property on January 31, 2009 6:10 am

    It should be opposed at any cost

     
  2. Fulan on February 1, 2009 8:25 am

    The best and most effective way to send a strong message to the school management ,is for the parents to refrain from sending their children to school for 1 week. Thats all it takes.
    Then they will be in control of the negotiations.

     
  3. NN on February 1, 2009 9:19 am

    I do not undertsand for why did the indian govt give this man – Varkey a padam shree…… They guy is not an educationlists….he is a leech, who on the blood of other parents and teachers salaries, earns money…….Ahs anybody looked into the salaries of the teachers…………, the unreasonable fee hikes…….What is the govt appluading him for………..

     
  4. a merchant on February 1, 2009 9:34 am

    the management is justified since they want to cover their investment within 2 years.

     
  5. a merchant on February 1, 2009 9:39 am

    The authorities have justified the rise and Mr Varkey has been honored Padma Shri by Indian Goverment though for personnel gains.

     
  6. a merchant on February 1, 2009 9:50 am

    The people are being honoured for explioting of BASIC HUMAN NEEDS AND WANTS.What more can the EXPOITED LOT. ask for from the authorities.Expect no justice since the matter already decided by the power of sheer wealth and arrogance.Take it or live it.

     
  7. MT on February 1, 2009 11:43 am

    I dont think there is anything wrong in making a new campus. The problem is that they want to recover it from students, which is stupidity.

    Even in business (though I support the view that Education is not only a business venture, but some people do invest in it like that) have you ever heard that companies start charging their customers double as they want to extract the cost of new facility/ machines!!!!!!!!!!

    Just because the students are captive and it is not easy to switch schools, they think they can force the fees. Lets fight against it at any cost.

     
  8. JP on February 1, 2009 12:03 pm

    This is not business, this is racketeering. There surely is a law against it. Can a school double its tuition during the school year? Can it suddenly ask for a huge fee (under any reason) to let students sit on exams?

    Dubai is not what it used to be. Time to move on folks

     
  9. Parent on February 1, 2009 1:15 pm

    Well..who do we blame the govt or the school..the govt wants the land that DMHS has..so both the parties need profit…Govt from the land and School from Shifting…But why should parents pay this profit? Does the CDSE boards sitting back in India have any say in this…and can they make any difference?

     
  10. AG on February 1, 2009 1:46 pm

    Lots of the private schools (many from GEMS) have high end facilities with olympic swimming pools, etc..That’s nice, but in my opinion, the most important thing is the academic level, the quality of the teachers, and how children are prepared for university. This is often overlooked in those high price schools that are more about the ‘bling’ than true quality education. Maybe this controversy will lead the management of the school to look into what their core goal is…educating our children. I don’t believe any of the private schools in Dubai are out there to educate, they are in for the $$. Parents should look at the teachers and ask where they come from, what is their experience, etc…I think most would be surprised!

     
  11. Honest on February 1, 2009 3:50 pm

    This is absolutely pathetic. where have all the real Academecians gone ?? the ones who believed that the only way a country prospers is by providing good education at affordable cost. Unfortunately in this part of the world, education has been replaced by greed, oppurtunism and lure of easy money. Its really shameful that this person was awarded Padma Shree. This man has lost a lot of respect in the eyes of many pple. .

     
  12. George on February 2, 2009 9:35 am

    How can the rent on existing land be increased by over 175% over the last two years. Doesn’t the rent cap apply here ?
    Also who has heard of recovering cost of investment in two years ?? It is unbelievable ??
    The padma Sri is justified on him as he has shown the path for investors – for high gains, returns in less than 2 years, open a school in Dubai.

     
  13. ShiekhBling on February 2, 2009 11:28 am

    It was unbelievable to receive an SMS from Principal stating Fee Structure is revised in consultation with KHDA yesterday (after all these protests, mails, meetings and representations!!!).

    It was shocking to see that all they did was re-formulated XLS table to make 90% hike in 2 equal instalments over next 2 years, which my Standard 2 student can do in 1 minute.

    Do we need to say more about false hopes hapless parents are pinning on Govt help and support in these turbulent times? Wake up parents and smell the coffee, it’s time to decide your own destiny.

     
  14. NG on February 4, 2009 9:45 am

    The management of GEMS is here to generate revenue and they are no where close to being educationist.

    Their tone simply proves “Take it or leave it”

    Mr. S. Varkey doesn’t deserve the Padamshree award; he is doing nothing to help the community. He is nothing but a business person, who believes in maximising revenue at the cost of future generation.
    Ministry of Education should intervene to stop the plight of the parents.

    With ever increasing cost of living and existing economic environment, it makes one think “where are we heading?� Rich are getting richer by the day and middle income group can’t even afford decent education facilities for their children. This is totally unfair, anyway, when was this country fair to Expatriates?? UAE is a beautiful country and the rulers are great visionaries, but ALAS, the business community is thriving and others are suffering by paying high cost to survive and sustain here.

    It is high time the affected the parents get together and go in for mass boycott of the school. What will the School management do when there are takers for its facility?

    Parents, be strong and brave and if you can afford shift your children to another good school. This is only way that GEMS Management can be taught a lesson.

     
  15. Jax All on February 4, 2009 8:32 pm

    Lets start a world wide movement to force the Indian Government to recall his Padma Shree. Lets not allow ANY government to “sell” awards like this to the highest bidder

     
  16. Realist on February 6, 2009 12:02 pm

    Well guys…it’ not a matter of thinking from heart…i can understand the issue here but it seems most (80%) parents are ready to pay this fees. Their objection is just that new campus is still not ready…but what if it’s ready by April or say Sep? I believe 80% of parents will be willingly and happily willpay the fees…so what’s this hue and cry about? DMHS has become the status symbols from all neo rich indians in dubai…most of them don’t even know the difference between CBSE and ICSE (see the post above from Parent). It’s fashinable to send your kids to DMHS…well my comments is mainly for those who’ve taken admissions in last 3-4 years. These ppl landed in dubai with fat salaries and learnt that DMHS is the most expensive indian school so admitted their kids there…now with recession and downturn they are finding it difficult this hike and hence this hue and cry ….
    Guys…be realistic if you really can’t afford this, please move to another school…DMHS is not the end of the world. IF you child is really smart he will shine anywhere (look at your background and school you studied back home). All the toppers in DMHS are just not b’coz of DMHS but also b’coz of the efforts of parents esp. Mothers.

     
  17. A Common Men on February 6, 2009 1:39 pm

    Well guys…it’ not a matter of thinking from heart…i can understand the issue here but it seems most (80%) parents are ready to pay this fees. Their objection is just that new campus is still not ready…but what if it’s ready by April or say Sep? I believe 80% of parents will be willingly and happily pay the fees…so what’s this hue and cry about? DMHS has become the status symbols from all neo rich indians in dubai…most of them don’t even know the difference between CBSE and ICSE (see the post above from Parent). It’s fashionable to send your kids to DMHS…well my comments is mainly for those who’ve taken admissions in last 3-4 years. These ppl landed in dubai with fat salaries and learnt that DMHS is the most expensive indian school so admitted their kids there…now with recession and downturn they are finding it difficult this hike and hence this hue and cry ….
    Guys…be realistic if you really can’t afford this, please move to another school…DMHS is not the end of the world. If you child is really smart he will shine anywhere (look at your background and school you studied back home). All the toppers in DMHS are not b’coz of DMHS but also b’coz of the efforts of parents esp. Mothers.

     
  18. Parent Modern on February 6, 2009 1:50 pm

    Critisicm is not the way forward. Give solutions. AND Mr. S. Varkey has never claimed to be an educationist, he calls himself an education entrepreneur, a businessman. And talking about good schools.. name one school that is good but NOT a GEMS school. Parents of Dubai Modern High School don’t have much of an option since this is THE ONLY good ICSE school available in the United Arab Emirates. DMHS parents are the victims to the fee hike. Managements attitude is “Take it or leave it”.

     
  19. Sundar Vachani on February 6, 2009 2:48 pm

    I am running a pharmacy. If I increase the prices of all pharmaceutical products by 110% because I am relocating to Burj Al Arab, will I be awarded the Padma Shree too?

     
  20. Affected Parent on February 14, 2009 8:51 am

    I hope ‘A Common Men’ attended the press conference to understand that more than 90% of the parents are not willing to pay the fee hike at its levels. GEMS schools are not status symbol by any means but DMHS is simply a monopolistic market… the only ICSE school in Dubai. As parents, we have attended ICSE and therefore know the advantageous difference between CBSE and ICSE.

    Businesses are revisiting their goals and plans in this time of financial crisis. GEMS should also relook into their recovery plan for the investment they have made in the new campus.

    They are behaving irresponsibily and we are opposing that behaviour and nothing else! If Sunny Varkey doesnt try to understand and relate to the call of the parents who have supported his business for all these years, then it will be a shame for him to hold on to the Padma Shree!!

     

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