Arab News –  The committee on private and international schools at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry expects 60 percent of these schools to raise annual tuition fees this year due to 25 percent higher operation costs.
The head of the committee and member of the National Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers, Malek Taleb, emphasized the need to put the decision to raise tuition fees in the hands of schools, rather than the Ministry of Education, considering such hikes are more to do with quality than exploiting the situation.
Each school must be able to set its fees based on costs and quality of learning services provided to the students, he said, noting that in the end it is a matter of supply and demand, and students can approve or reject the decision. If fees are too high, then parents can transfer students to other schools, including public or government schools. He said the rise in operational costs by 20 percent to 25 percent will not only affect large schools, but also smaller schools, which represent up to 50 percent of the sector. Such schools will have no choice but to raise school fees or exit the market, noting currently annual fees are fairly low at SR6,000 to SR7,000. Schools that will raise fees are the larger ones in Jeddah, Riyadh, and the Eastern Province, he predicted.
Factors resulting in increased costs include higher costs of hiring Saudi teachers and payment for recruitment visas for expat teachers. Not many Saudi educators are qualified to teach, while schools are also required to provide insurance coverage to the teacher’s dependents, as well as the teacher.
According to Dakheel Allah Al-Johani, a member of the National Committee of Private and International Schools, government support for private schools is very low at only SR100 per student annually, which is a problem for schools with less than 600 students.
With the declining number of private and international schools who are unable to keep their doors open, this will also put greater pressure on government schools.


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