Parents are confounded by unchanging school fees despite COVID-19 lockdown

April 14, 2020 | 09:17
Parents at private schools have been getting reminders to pay all fees on time, including charges for services they cannot use during the COVID-19 epidemic and the compulsory social distancing.
parents are confounded by unchanging school fees despite covid 19 lockdown
Vietnam Australia International School (VAS)

Parents at Vietnam Australia International School (VAS) are unsatisfied as the school shows no intention of letting fees covering food or its school bus service go. quoted a parent as saying that they pay VND7.7 million ($335) and VND6.3 million ($275) every 10 weeks for the meals of middle- and grade-schoolers – and have just recently been notified that the school expects payments in time.

Marcel van Miert, chairman of VAS, wrote in a letter to parents that the VAS system has accrued some expenses that may increase if the epidemic is prolonged. Therefore, the fees will be necessary to materialise its commitment to parents to make up for the lost months. In other words, VAS will not charge additional fees during the epidemic.

The school's decision has left many parents dissatisfied. “VAS should return what parents have paid for meals for the third term (January 4-March 21)and not charge anything for the fourth term,” said a parent. “As society in general is undergoing hardships, VAS should not push its additional costs to the next school year and not charge fees for electricity and water.

Echoing this, a parent also said, “The school should be on the side of parents during the crisis. Sending us these receipts will just make the burden on us heavier.”

Regarding supporting parents, Miert also wrote that VAS has given a four-week extension for payments in the 2019-2020 school year.

Along with VAS, private schools in Hanoi like Everest School or English centres like Amslink have been caught up in a heated dispute with parents over online tuition fees.

Everest School in late March informed that it will charge VND650,000 ($28) a week for primary school and VND700,000 ($30) for secondary school students.

Many parents expressed dissatisfaction with the fees, claiming they are too steep, while the quality of education is by no means guaranteed.

Reacting to the protests of parents, the school adjusted the fees a week later to VND400,000-450,000 ($17-20) for primary and VND520,000 ($23) for secondary school students. If a class is too large and parents request dividing it into two groups, they will have to pay an additional fee of VND120,000 ($5) every week.

Amslink English Center, for instance, started online teaching in March but has yet to come to an agreement over tuition fees with parents.

In a talk with VIR, Thanh Long, the father of a Pre Starter B student at Amslink, said that the company asked him to pay VND220,000 ($10) per online lesson while direct study cost VND365,000 ($16).

By Van Anh

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