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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 Dana El Baltaji
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?