International trips can cost Dh15,000 or more, a parent revealed
While field trips are a regular occurrence in private schools across Dubai, parents hold varying opinions about these ‘educational outings’.
Some argue that they are costly and duplicative, as similar experiences are often part of family outings. On the contrary, some parents emphasize the significant educational benefits.
Kazakh national Karina Shashkova whose children go to Sunmarke School Dubai said, “I personally think it is a good idea. I don’t have to spend my time taking the kids out on a city tour if many of the iconic places are covered by the school. They have socio-cultural benefits. Besides, if a child is left out while other classmates are having fun, it upsets them. So, I feel why not send them.”
“Sometimes we spend Dh100 on a coffee and a croissant, then why can’t we spend the same amount or a little more for our children where they would have fun with their friends once a term?” added the parent.
However, she stressed that the expenses become prohibitive for parents with multiple children, especially when they plan to visit a site in a different emirate that requires an overnight stay.
“My oldest one is in Year 5, and he is going to Ras Al Khaimah where they will be hiking, camping, swimming, and indulging in a host of other activities. The school is charging Dh2,000 for it. So that pinches a little. That’s because one can do ten such trips for that kind of money. Although it’s optional, you don’t want your child to be left behind, so my son is going for it,” said the mother of three kids.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) stipulates that specific permission for every trip is not required by Dubai schools. However, these field trips must be woven as part of the curriculum, with tangible learning outcomes.
The education regulator also mandates that schools must do a recce of the site for risk assessment purposes before students are taken to these locations.
Institutions should ensure that all student trips and events are beneficial, safe and in the best interest of the pupils.
Indian expat Arijit Nandi whose son goes to an ‘Outstanding’ rated IB school in Dubai, explains why he isn’t always completely in favour of these trips.
“My son is in Year 3 and his school fee is already over Dh60,000. The tuition fee will anyway keep increasing year-on-year. Apart from that, we have expenditures related to bus fare and uniforms. But occasionally I perceive the inclusion of such field trips, particularly to places children have already visited with their parents, as unnecessary. Last time my child’s school was taking them to a well-known gym.”