Spiralling Education cost pinches people

MUSCAT, JUNE 17 – A good education is worth its weight in gold. But education is becoming costly in Oman as its contribution to inflation reached as high as 4.9 per cent in May this year.
Although the exact reason for the rise in the price of education is not known, the households are going to feel the pinch.
“It is not just fees alone are increasing, prices of other services linked to education like transport and cost of stationary are also going high,” said Tariq al Musalhi, an educationist.
The latest update on consumer price index by the National Centre for Statistics and Information shows that inflation rate in the Sultanate recorded an increase of 0.78 per cent in May 2018 compared to the same month of the previous year.
Education accounts for the second highest component of inflation, after prices of vegetables, which registered a rise of 7.44 per cent during the same period.
“The trend is an indication that households will have to make more room in their budgets to pay for rising tuition fees along with other costs,” he said.
Education in Oman had been free for both Omanis and expats until secondary level in government schools.
In the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Education had announced that all non-Omani students enrolling in government schools would have to pay registration and yearly fees effective from the first week of February this year.
Apart from the new decision on fees for expat students, reports said that fees for applying to start a global school has been increased to RO 400 from RO 200.

Similarly, the fees for renewing a global school licence had been fixed at RO 600 while the fees for application to set up an international community school set at RO 1,000, with the same amount for renewing the licence.
There are a number of international private schools in Oman catering to different nationalities, including American, British, Indian, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Due to the large expat community in Oman, demand for places at international schools is high and space limited. The fees are said to be very high and some schools demand that fees are paid upfront prior to the first day of term.
“Fees in most private schools in the capital are very high. People with low income and more than one child would definitely will be the worst hit”, said Binu Medayil, an Indian expatriate.
“This will particularly be of help to those parents who currently are not being able to send their children to quality schools due to high tuition fees,” he said.

SAMUEL KUTTY