Picking schools for your kids post-COVID-19: Keep a cool head!

July 16, 2020 | 08:00
Following the social distancing due to COVID-19, many families are taking time to reconsider their pick of schools for their children, especially when tuition fees can be anywhere from several hundreds of millions to several billions of Vietnamese dong at non-public schools. 
picking schools for your kids post covid 19 keep a cool head
Tens of thousands of students in Ho Chi Minh City will begin the first year of each level

In the new school year of 2020-2021, the southern growth centre Ho Chi Minh City expects to welcome 200,000 students who will begin the first year of each level (Grade 1, Grade 6, and Grade 10). In Grade 10 alone, over 80,000 students attended the entry exam last year. The need to pick the right school of tens of thousands of parents and their students are becoming ever more urgent.

Aside from public schools, the city is home to over 1,000 educational institutions, ranging from kindergartens to private and international high schools. They are set up to meet the diverse requirements of parents in terms of tuition fees, training programmes, and the corresponding academic performance. Of these educational facilities, international schools are the priority for middle or higher-income families.

Wise choice

The tuition fees offered by international schools in Vietnam are the fourth highest in Asia. This result is from a 2019 poll of 688 international schools in 27 countries and territories conducted by Expat Finder, a company providing information and support services for families moving abroad. According to the survey, Vietnam has an average annual tuition fee of $17,940 per year (about VND412.6 million), cheaper only than China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

The need to pick the right school of tens of thousands of parents and their students are becoming ever more urgent.

This rate ranks 13th in the world, which also represents Vietnamese parents’ priority for investment in the education of their children.

However, the global pandemic has adversely affected the whole country as well as the income of every family, with no end to be seen. Non-essential spending has been cut drastically, including spending on education, which traditionally accounts for a quarter or a third of a family’s total income.

In general education, this is a long-term process and parents need to keep a cool head to think over their options. Tuition fees at international schools in Ho Chi Minh City range from VND3 to 8 billion ($130,430-$347,830). That is the amount needed for a student to finish all the curricula from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Bilingual schools become the trend

Many students are returning home to study while high schools and universities worldwide remain closed. Parents realise that the switch of international schools to a bilingual environment is a practical choice at the time being so as to cut parents’ spending while still retaining the curricula and graduation certificates.

Take for example, the Cambridge general education programme which is being taught at British International School (BIS) and Vietnam Australia International School (VAS) in line with bilingual curricula.

picking schools for your kids post covid 19 keep a cool head
Saving considerable costs of investment in education whilst ensuring the children’s learning output with the bilingual programme

Both are official Cambridge schools which offer the same curricula and are assessed by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) together with the AS/A Level certificate.

However, the tuition fees at VAS are only from a half to two-thirds of the BIS. Meanwhile, VAS students studying CAP or CAP International programmes may take the national exam for high school graduation to attend domestic universities if they wish to.

The facilities and curricula of the two models are relatively compatible. Meanwhile, VAS’s extracurricular, talent cultivation, outdoor exercises, and other educational programmes to boost core value as well as soft skills and life skills are designed to maximise students’ potential.

Students are helped to bring into full play their academic potential and other skills. They will also gain rich experience in community activities to be ready to adapt to a new learning environment or gain considerable advantage when applying for scholarships.

picking schools for your kids post covid 19 keep a cool head
The understanding of national consciousness and identity contributes in building a child’s characteristic and individual differences

What is more, the majority of Asian families want their children to study in a bilingual learning environment so that they can be fluent in both English and Vietnamese. This can partly relieve parents’ worries that their kids may neglect their mother tongue or the country’s culture and history if they work in an English-only speaking environment.

In the world’s new situation, a high-quality bilingual school which offers world-recognised certificates can ensure students’ safety in Vietnam while saving considerable costs of investment in education.

Vietnam Australia International School is one of the leading educational institutions both in size and history among the circle of foreign-related schools in Vietnam.

It provides a learning environment for almost 9,500 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 at seven of its campuses. Run by a teaching staff of nearly 1,000 domestic and international teachers holding extensive expertise, VAS is also the school which offers the highest number of teaching periods using only English to communicate among the bilingual schools applying the same curricula.

More information on the three diverse programmes and free placement test is available at http://www.vas.edu.vn or hotline 0911267755.

By Ha Thuy

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