Schools can seek fee hike review

 25 May 2014 - 4:17



DOHA: Private schools unhappy with the decision of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) on their requests for a fee hike have been given time until May 29 to seek a review.
The SEC held a meeting of private school officials on Thursday to explain new procedures and criteria adopted by the SEC for deciding on fee hike requests.
In a new initiative, the SEC has tied up with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), a leading international company providing professional services, to evaluate fee hike applications from private schools.
Addressing the meeting, Hamad Al Ghali, director of the Private Schools Office at the SEC, said that schools that had sought permission for a fee hike can lodge their complaints by May 29 if they are not satisfied with the SEC’s decision.
The official had said earlier that the SEC had rejected about 70 percent of the applications seeking a fee hike and granted permission to the remaining schools for a slight hike in their fees — mostly ranging from 1.5 percent to four percent.
Schools that were denied permission or are not happy with the permitted amount of increase can now seek a review. However, they have to provide fresh evidence to substantiate their claims, said the official.
He said requests for fee hike had been assessed on three major considerations: the cost of education, ability of the parents to afford the fee hike and the need to encourage private investment in education.
The SEC’s policy is to help schools cover costs while making sure that the fees are not prohibitive, said the official.
The SEC takes feedback from parents, students and teachers to assess the quality and performance of the schools before taking a decision on fee hike requests. It also looks into the financial status of each school based on audited financial statements presented by the schools.
In collaboration with PWC, the SEC has developed a new system to assess fee hike requests, giving specific points to each of the above criteria.
“This is a welcome step and it shows that the SEC is now more transparent on the issue of fee increases,” said the principal of a leading Indian school who attended the meeting.
“What we understand is that the SEC is now opting for a gradual increase in the fees, looking into all aspects. Another positive thing is that schools are classified on the basis of their curricula and the communities they are serving. For instance, all Indian schools are now being put in one category while deciding the fees. Earlier, they were compared with other private schools,” he added.