Parents surround Apax language school again demanding refunds

By Le Nguyen   October 13, 2023 | 05:10 pm PT
Not having received refunds tuition fees they paid as promised, parents stormed an Apax Leaders language center in Ho Chi Minh City's Phu Nhuan District to claim their money.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 15 parents came to the English language school Apax Leaders on Phan Xich Long Street, demanding that the institution pay them back tuitions fees they paid.

A day before that, around 100 parents rushed the center for the same reason.

They all claimed that the center has been late on tuition refund deadlines.

In 2020 and 2021, the parents paid for their children to learn English at several Apax Leaders centers, but many centers were then closed following financial crises at education company Apax Holdings, which operates the schools, interrupting the students’ studies.

After many negotiations, Apax Leaders announced they would repay parents the tuition fees in two groups. It has so far finished paying those in group 1.

As for group 2, the school promised to pay them through five installments in April, October, November, and December this year, and then March and May next year.

For October, the company announced they would make it on October 9.

A parent named Huong, who lives in District 7, said she was supposed to receive VND10 million from Apax but she hasn't received a single dong.

She reached out to the school but has received no answers.

"Parents have wasted way too much time, efforts and money on Apax for over six months now but the company hasn't kept their promises," she said.

Another parent named Phuoc in District 3 said he pinned high hopes on getting back the money after seeing that all parents in the group 1 had been fully paid. But it has been three days since the due date and he has not heard from the school.

Phuoc is waiting to get VND16 million from the school in the second installment.

"We don't know anywhere else to go to get the money back. We really hope that the authorities will have solutions to make Thuy [Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, also known as Shark Thuy, chairman of Apax Leaders] fulfill his responsibility to pay us."

Parents surround an Apax Leaders language center in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan District to claim their money, October 11, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nguyen

Parents surround an Apax Leaders language center in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan District to claim their money, October 11, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Le Nguyen

Speaking to VnExpress on Wednesday, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Apax Leaders CEO, insisted that the second installment would be on October 20 and not on October 9 as claimed by parents.

He said parents coming to the center demanding the money has affected the company’s business and that they failed to respect the agreement.

"We’re preparing [the money] and will try to pay it back. There are still ten more days to go, why can’t they wait? If they do not allow us to work, how can we handle the problem," Tuan said.

However, on Thursday afternoon, he said he had quit job at Apax Leaders.

Apax Leaders now has 37 centers, mostly in the north, and more than 11,100 students, double the number in March.

But before the crisis, it had 120 centers and 120,000 students.

In HCMC only the one center on Phan Xich Long Street in Phu Nhuan District remains open, but currently it has no students or teachers, only several office staff.

Since November last year, Apax Holdings has been accused of delaying salary payments and of failing to uphold the quality of its educational offerings.

Last December hundreds of people showed up at the company’s offices and also Thuy’s house to demand a refund of their investment as the company failed to pay them the promised interest after signing "strategic partnership deals" with them.

In February this year Thuy said Apax Holdings was facing severe difficulties, including a lack of cash flows, as Covid lockdowns forced the closure of its schools over the last few years, and he promised to return the tuition fees parents had paid.

go to top