International school in Hanoi told to sever ties with US faculty over scam allegations

By Quynh Trang   April 17, 2018 | 07:50 pm PT
International school in Hanoi told to sever ties with US faculty over scam allegations
Newton Grammar School in Hanoi has been asked to sever collaboration with George Washington International School by Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training.
A Facebook post has revealed that the George Washington International School might not even exist.

An international school in Hanoi has been ordered to cut all ties with another international school in the United States following allegations the school doesn't actually exist, Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The Newton Grammar School (NGS) in Hanoi has been asked to sever its collaboration with the George Washington International School (GWIS) in the United States by the ministry. 

The collaboration allows students from NGS to study on a bilingual learning program, under which they learn subjects like math, science and languages following the GWIS curriculum.

Suspicions over the status of GWIS were raised when a Facebook user posted a comment claiming it to be a "ghost school", meaning a school that doesn't actually function or even exist.

The post said the school's official website does not provide information regarding the school's year of establishment, or the name of the principal and faculty members. The school's addresses in California and Florida listed on its official website were found to be a performance arts center and a mailing agency. 

After the post blew up on social media, authorities launched an investigation.

GWIS was not found on any list of available schools in the United States, said Pope Thrower, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Vietnam. Local media have also reported that the school does not have any headquarters, teachers or students.

The ministry has instructed authorities to double-check the teaching curriculum at NGS, and to establish who was responsible for the collaboration in the first place and deal with them in accordance with Vietnamese law, the statement said.

Hanoi’s Department of Education and Training has asked NGS to ensure students' rights are protected, Thanh Nien reported.

Phillip Nguyen, the so-called founder of GWIS, said at a meeting with students' parents at NGS on Tuesday last week that his school's legal documents had been sent to NGS, and Hanoi’s education department had been informed of the situation, according to VietNamNet.

Representatives from NGS have since apologized to students and their parents, and said the school will find a more credible partner for its collaboration program, as reported by local media.

Several schools from 14 provinces in Vietnam are also working in collaboration with GWIS, media reports said.

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