American International School continues closing pending parents' extra payment

By Le Nguyen   March 31, 2024 | 10:32 pm PT
American International School continues closing pending parents' extra payment
A section of the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) in HCMC's Nha Be District. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nguyen
Students at the American International School Vietnam continued to stay home on Monday after the spring break ends, as the school has not opened an account to receive parents' further payments to keep it running.

Bui Thong, a parent of two children at AISVN, said the school informed that the students would stay home on Monday via an email sent Sunday.

Over 1,200 students began staying home on March 18 over a teachers' strike due to unpaid salaries and insurance. They returned to school the next day but there were not enough teachers to maintain classes. The students then stayed home over the spring break, from March 23-31.

In the email Sunday, AISVN said it has not been able to create a joint bank account for the Department of Education and Training, the school and parents, over the weekends. As such, it would need more time to resolve issues regarding teachers’ unpaid salaries. An official date for when students can return to school is expected to be announced on Monday.

"I am willing to pay more money for my children to continue studying at the school," Thong said.

At a Saturday meeting with parents and HCMC authorities, AISVN said the school is no longer financially capable to pay teachers’ salaries and maintain education activities. Nguyen Thi Ut Em, head of the school board, called for parents to contribute an additional VND125 billion (US$5 million) to pay for teachers’ salaries and allow the school to operate until the end of the school year in June.

Em proposed an extra monthly payment at VND9.5 million for kindergarteners, VND14.5 million for primary school students, VND20.5 million for students at grade 6-8, and VND25.5 million for students at grade 9-12.

On Sunday, certain parents said they have received emails informing them about the exact amounts of money they need to contribute. A parent of an 8th grader said they were requested to pay VND61.5 million for the remaining three months of the school year.

Education department director Nguyen Van Hieu is expected to have a meeting with AISVN teachers on Monday regarding salary and insurance issues.

Em has been forbidden from emigration over personal income tax issues.

AISVN provides curriculums under the International Baccalaureate program.

The school's tuition is VND280-350 million a year for kindergarteners, VND450-500 million a year for primary school levels, and VND600-725 million for middle and high school levels. The school has 129 foreign teachers, 26 Vietnamese teachers and 103 employees. But 85 teachers have stopped working.

In October of last year, several parents gathered to demand repayment of debts from the school. They claimed that the school had borrowed tens of billions of Vietnamese dong without interest to enable children to study for free. However, even after the children graduated, the debts remain unpaid.

HCMC boasts 35 schools utilizing foreign capital, predominantly employing curricula from North America and the U.K., supplemented by Vietnamese subjects. Tuition fees at these schools can reach up to VND1 billion per year.

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