Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah yesterday issued new rules to regulate tuition fees in private schools. According to the new regulations, a school will have to apply to the ministry before the end of the first semester of an academic year for any change in its fee structure. The Council of Ministers had authorized the Ministry of Education to make an appropriate decision on any private school’s request for increase in fees. A primary committee of the ministry will examine the school’s application and make an appropriate decision in a period of not more than 45 days after receiving the application, the Saudi Press Agency reported. However, this year, the last date for the application is Wednesday, March 13, and the committee will make its decisions on the applications before May 11. The new regulations also stipulate that the ministry should set up a primary committee at the ministry’s headquarters and branch committees in provincial educational administrations. These committees will make decisions on fee revision applications on the basis of certain rules and standards. The committees will also lay down the procedures and guidelines to be followed by schools when submitting their applications. The conditions that make a private school eligible for increasing the fees include the rise in the cost of education, the standard and potential of a school that include its buildings, average number of students in classes and teacher-student ratio in the school. The conditions for fee hike also include the number of support staff comprising administration staff, drivers and other employees. The committee will also consider the additional curriculum offered in a school, adoption of information technology and e-education, apart from the resources and equipment as well as furniture used. The security and safety arrangements and skill development facilities, workshops, and training programs for administrative and technical staff are other factors that will be considered by the committee before approving request of a school to raise fees. The committee will also consider the position of the school in the ministry’s annual grading of private schools and the academic achievements including the performance of the school in national competitions and the tests conducted by the National Quality Test Center. Other factors to be considered are the level of Saudization in the school and if the school was ever subjected to any penal measures. The regulations also stress the fact that guardians of students in a private school will have to be informed if the ministry’s committee approves the school’s demand for fee hike before the end of an academic year, the ministry’s statement said. Several private schools have been demanding permission to hike tuition fees following a recent government order to raise the minimum salary for Saudi teachers. ARAB NEWS .