Students go hungry as Saigon international school scrimps on meals

By Manh Tung   September 23, 2019 | 06:56 pm PT
Students go hungry as Saigon international school scrimps on meals
The facade of the Vietnamese Australian School in HCMC's District 2. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Tung.
Upset parents have demanded supervisory control over meals being served to students at the Vietnam-Australia International School in HCMC.

Based on their children's complaints, a group of parents visited the school last Wednesday and found insufficient food being served for lunch, leaving students hungry and undernourished.

On Monday, 40 parents submitted a written demand to the administration of the Vietnam-Australia International School in the city's District 2, home to a large community of expats, asking that a body comprising parents’ representatives and school staff be set up to monitor meals served to students.

The school administration has acknowledged its "negligence" in failing to ensure quality meals are served to students and promised to work with the caterer to improve the latter’s services.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Xuan, principal of the school, which receives students from kindergarten to high school grades, said at the Monday meeting with parents that she could not respond immediately to their demand because she did not have the ‘competence’ to do so. This issue will be raised again at an official meeting with parents on September 27.  

A parent who wished to remain anonymous said the school's meals, including breakfast, lunch and tea-time snack, cost VND130,000 to VND150,000 ($5.61-6.47) per day.

Bui Thi Diem Thu, deputy head of HCMC's Department of Education and Training, said they have received the information and would carry out inspections of both public and private schools. She added that a proper meal for children would only cost around VND30,000 ($1.29).

At the meeting with the school administration, the parents also urged the school to work with a variety of caterers to be able to flexibly handle unusual situations.

The Vietnam-Australia International School is an expensive private school in HCMC. It collects VND143 million ($6,200) to VND425 million ($18,330) per student in annual tuition fees. Vietnam's GDP per capita in 2018 was less than $2,600.

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