The United International Private School (UIPS), the oldest and biggest Philippine school in Dubai, marked its 20th anniversary with a three-day event showcasing students' talents through field demonstrations and sports event.
A senior UIPS official has revealed, meanwhile, that no fee increases are planned for its 1,600 students in the upcoming school year.
"We have not raised our fees since 2007," said Badria Ali, Assistant Managing Director of UIPS. "This is an important decision for our students. We may have one of the lowest fees but we're not short on quality and our achievement tests can attest to that."
There are six other smaller Philippine-curriculum schools in the UAE.
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Kindergarten students at UIPS are charged around Dh6,000, while grade school charges start from Dh7,000. A fourth-year high school student pays around Dh11,000 annually.
"We've have kept our fees the same since 2007," said Ali. "We offer affordable but quality education using the Philippine curriculum to expatriate children in Dubai," said Ali.
Students who face difficulties in subjects such as mathematics and science are given twice-a-week remedial classes.
UIPS has achieved an "acceptable" rating this year from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Dubai's education regulator.
UIPS students go through four types of international assessment tests, besides their own quarterly diagnostics and year-end achievement tests.
Emmanuelle C. Landayan of UIPS topped the Science test all over the Middle East among third-graders administered by the International Benchmark Test (IBT) in 2009.
The result of the school's first achievement tests administered by Manila's Department of Education earlier this year is due in March 2012.
The school moved to Al Ghusais in 2000 as enrolment spiked following receipt of a Manila government permit to operate a Philippine-curriculum school. UIPS also opened a Dh5 million school building earlier this year as well as sport facilities.
The official said the school is getting ready to expand and implement the K-12 programme. By law, all Philippine-curriculum schools — including those overseas — must convert to K-12 basic education by 2016, a policy to be implemented by the Department of Education.
Ali has also confirmed plans to open a college in Dubai. "We've set our sights on opening a college here, following clamour from parents of our students for it," said Ali.
Jenny Gonzales, a senior school official, has said they have started the process of filing an application with the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities' Commission on Accreditation. "This is the first step towards accreditation," the official said.
In addition to swimming and basketball and other "Western" sports, the school teaches traditional Filipino sports such as Arnis and Sepak Takraw in physical education classes.
Most of its graduates are accepted by leading universities in the Philippines.