HCMC international school continues closing as more than half of teachers quit

By Le Nguyen, Le Tuyet   March 21, 2024 | 07:19 pm PT
HCMC international school continues closing as more than half of teachers quit
An empty classroom at the AISVN in HCMC, March 19, 2024. Photo provided by a parent at the school
The American International School Vietnam (AISVN) has continued to let students stay home despite being requested to make classes return to schedule amid a teachers' strike.

At a Friday regular press meet, Le Thuy My Chau, vice director of the HCMC Department of Education and Training, said there are over 1,210 students following the school's International Baccalaureate program. The school has 129 foreign teachers and 26 Vietnamese teachers. By March 20, 85 teachers have quit.

While the school reopened on March 19 and 20, it said it would close down again on Thursday and Friday. Several parents expressed their dismay at the announcement.

"Despite the education department having demanded the school multiple times to teach students as planned, the school let the students stay home," Chau said.

Chau said that after several parents gathered and demanded AISVN to return the money it owed them in September 2023, the department has discussed with the school multiple times on the matter. In January, the school said that while it does not have a clear financial solution yet, it can remain operational until the end of the school year.

Since March, the department has discussed with the principal of AISVN multiple times on how to meet students' demands while the teachers quit teaching, but the school proved to be uncooperative, she said.

"In its reports, the school always said it was dealing with its financial situation, but the department saw that the maintenance of the school's activities is affecting its teaching and studying quality, impacting students' rights."

Nguyen Thi Ut Em, chairwoman of the school board, on Thursday said that within a week, the school would call on investment funds to restructure the school and maintain its educational activities. The school said it would be fully responsible before the law if such a goal cannot be achieved.

Established in 2006 in Nha Be District, AISVN offers the International Baccalaureate program. Tuition fees range from VND280-350 million (US$11,300-14,100) per year for kindergarteners, VND450-500 million for primary school students, to VND600-725 million for middle and high school students.

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 remained unpaid.

HCMC boasts 35 schools with foreign capital, predominantly utilizing 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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