majortio majortio posted August 15th, 2010 at 9:46 pm to Ask ANH Discussions. Viewed 79 times. Answered 60 times.

Who has worked for Hanoi Academy in Seputra?
What are yr experiences? Student-wise, management-wise and so on.
What about the students.
I could not find any reviews here. Strange as it is a big international school...

Last answered by Grant about 117 months ago.

Answers (jump to newest answer)

MapleLeaf wrote on August 16th, 2010 at 5:18 am
MapleLeaf (elite user)

From what I understand, it's more of a school that gives Vietnamese students an international education than it is an international school. Most of the students are Vietnamese (or Vietnamese with a foreign passport).

I remember hearing that some of the classes were taught in Vietnamese. That suggests only part of the staff are foreign.

It's a relatively new school (last year was its first full year) with nice, new buildings (at least from the outside).

Atomic wrote on August 16th, 2010 at 6:29 am
Atomic (elite user)

I interviewed for a position with them last year and found them severely lacking organization and the Director a bit befuddled. The pay offered wasn't enough to pin my ass to a chair on their campus for 40 hours a week, not even close.

suddenpaws wrote on August 17th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
suddenpaws (elite user)

I interviewed with them a while back before they first opened, and I would agree with Atomic about them being completely disorganised, and the pay being laughable for what they expected. They also had a reputation at the start for having some pretty 'out there' expat staff members, who weren't, shall we say, brimming with professionalism. Though, having said that, they have been open a couple of years, and they do have a new director, or so I understand, so it could have changed a lot in that time. I also hear they are taking on people with no formal teaching qualifications in Elementary and High School positions and offering them work permits (how I don't know), so if you want the job security of a permit, it may be worth your while if that's the case. I would suggest popping into Jafa at Ciputra and asking around. You are bound to find someone 'in the know' having a beer there... or maybe two beers...

settingsun wrote on August 17th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

the new director is one of the most respected businessmen in Vietnam/ the most connected expat I have met..

pippasweetie wrote on August 17th, 2010 at 7:36 pm
pippasweetie (elite user)

Could somebody please provide me with the new Director's name and contact details ?

I lent the school some decorative items for an open day -as a favour - and I would like them returned.

The contact I had has left Hanoi and I was promised that someone from the school would return them to me.
Still waiting......

Thanks in advance

Atomic wrote on August 17th, 2010 at 9:39 pm
Atomic (elite user)

Pippasweetie, have you tried Googling "one of the most respected businessmen in Vietnam/the most connected expat ever created in the whole wide world for ever and ever" ?

settingsun wrote on August 17th, 2010 at 9:56 pm

sorry guess you english teachers take your work and attitude home with you. it was an honest comment, he's a great guy working for the school to try to help vietnamese education system not for the money. he makes way more than they could ever pay them from his own companies, so sorry. when you meet the guy and you talk to him you will understand but thanks for the hate love posting on this forum with all the bitter, burned out english teachers on it.

pippasweetie wrote on August 17th, 2010 at 11:01 pm
pippasweetie (elite user)

Hi Setting Sun, I am not an English teacher, just a person who tried to help some other people out.

I am sure if he is as you say he is he will want to help me locate my items I loaned the school at no cost to them or favour sort in return.

Please send me a message with contact details for him as I have had no luck with the numbers I have.

Thanks in advance.

Grant wrote on August 18th, 2010 at 8:23 am
Grant (elite user)


@Atomic: I Googled "one of the most respected businessmen in Vietnam/the most connected expat ever created in the whole wide world for ever and ever" and funnily enough it came up with your post in 1st place. Spooky, eh?


Devo13 wrote on August 18th, 2010 at 10:15 am
Devo13 (elite user)

Pip, their website does not list the head of school, as far as I can tell.

Try: Email: Tel: 043.7430125

Otherwise email all the parent reps:

- Chairman: Mr Tien, Nguyen Duc. Tel: 0904.116999/
- Deputy Chairman: Mrs Van, Nguyen Bich Tel: 0913.231019/
- Deputy Chairman: Mrs Trang, Nguyen Thu. Tel: 0903.221666/
- Deputy Chairman: Mr Su, Le Quang. Tel: 0913.394248/
- Secretary: Mrs Tam, Hoang Thi Ut. Tel: 0983.800102/

mapstro wrote on August 18th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

The school is a complete disaster. They claim to give an international education, but have misled the teachers, the parents, the shareholders and the students. They failed the Vietnamese curriculum AND are lying about offering the International curriculum last year and have no plans on changing it this year.

They agree to the faces of anyone who inquires but then undermine everything the Foreign staff have tried to do to improve the quality of education. The foreign teachers staged a walk out last week after 3 Asian International teachers were 'unhired' because they were Asian. The board apologized, but now have segregated the Foreign staff from the Vietnamese, treat the foreigners with suspicion and are attempting to force out the Foreign CEO, telling all Vietnamese staff not to accept any direction from foreigners.

They have used deception and 'cronieism' to steal money from the parents, give a lower than standard Vietnamese public education, and have paid lip service to the foreign teachers...who are there as photo ops and to lure $6000/student from unsuspecting parents. This school has no desire to offer even a mediocre education to students. The International component has been shoved to the side, angering parents who want to make it the main component.

If you can handle overt racism, the administration scoffing at you for being a foreigner, the daily overturning of proven Western educational ideas while telling the parents they are giving the students the best Western education in Vietnam....then go ahead. Another teacher walkout is expected in the next week.

Best of luck. The dreams of a true Vietnamese International school have been dashed.

Atomic wrote on August 18th, 2010 at 8:47 pm
Atomic (elite user)

Dammit! Why do I always miss the good stuff?

Grant wrote on August 18th, 2010 at 9:22 pm
Grant (elite user)


Oi Pippa, get your gear back quickly before it gets unloaned.


iminhanoi wrote on August 25th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

anybody know anyone who teaches there?

sean777 wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

dear NH members
The new foreign CEO was me- Dr Sean McGough. Employed by the Board of Directors with the promise that i could improve the conditions for international teachers, deliver a legal bi-curriculum process and ensure the parents of children were listened to and children were treated with respect. Instead, i found the whole exercise a corrupted, scandal ridden plan on the part of a few greedy businessmen to take the money of parents and profit from a school where they provided no quality, poor resources and little idea of how to educate children. The situation is worse than you can ever imagine. Within weeks i was refused any information on what seemed highly questionable financial practices. Every policy i introduced was immediately reversed, and sometimes replaced by even worse policies than before. Then i tried to employ non-white teachers with great qualifications i was told to discriminate against them and refuse them contracts. I immediately walked out and when all the other international teachers followed the BOD reversed the decision but then began an open campaign of intimidation, blackmail and threats against me and the other teachers who supported me. The school is a national disgrace, with children in kindergarten enduring education treatment from the 19th century, resources allocated through an allowance of 50,000vnd per person per month instead of as needed. The international curriculum is a disgrace with no attempt to actively pursue the right certification process either in Vietnam law or in the processes of international organisations awarding certification. The buildings look good but actually are poorly constructed and turn into swimming pools every time it rains. There is a campaign amongst the Boards friendly managers, staff and teachers to undermine the international teachers in the schools. I have seen dedicated teachers in tears with frustration and anger at the way they and the children are treated. The situation is so bad i even have teachers devastated through the mental stress of not being able to change the situation. The Board are cynical, power hungry, vindictive and greedy people who even condemn their own children to this farce in education. All the international community should ostracise this school.

NickinNam wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Way to go Doctor! Right on! Good to know! But two questions:

1) Why don't you resign?

2) Do you have Pippa's stuff?

pinto wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Wots up Doc?
I can only assume this is just another Irish joke! – Dr Sean McGough ?– come on, a clone of Dr H S Thompson? - doctorate in what? - divinity? – another defrocked priest? Ex-dentist from Belsen Bergen? - consultant brain replacement surgeon for the Bush family?
Come on, guys, this has to be a massive piss take. Nobody can be this dumb – you couldn’t sell this crap to a scouse TESOL teacher at Ta Hien at closing time!
We all know that a lot of schools are dodgy but this international conspiracy is just about too hard to take. Conversely, it could be just true, which begs the question, “How dumb are you, Doc?”

SEA08 wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 8:52 pm
SEA08 (elite user)

Thanks for the info, don't worry about our resident village idiots above. Best of luck with a complicated situation and I hope it turns out alright.

pinto wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Back to Nick's Q1

iminhanoi wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Sean - would you advise teachers not join up with H.A?

NickinNam wrote on August 27th, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I think the Doctor makes it clear that only white masochists need apply.

My response above was not in the least meant to be flippant. Why would anyone stay in such an environment? Vote with your feet Doctor. Let them hang themselves. No need to sully your resume with that kind of BS.

sean777 wrote on August 28th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Pinto- my doctorate is on the war in Ireland from 1900 to the present and concentrates on issues of freedom fighters, counter intelligence operations and the promotion of a peace process. my expertise used to be in counter-terrorism and intelligence but i decided to devote my time now to reforming education for children as i feel the freedom of everyone and the key to the end of poverty is education. As for HA- too many teachers and their families have already suffered during this dispute. i will not walk away from it and will continue to try and represent the interests of the teachers and the children. Your flippancy might be due to many personal reasons, but i myself do not feel the urge to be flippant when it concerns the interests of children. Maybe that does make me dumb and many people will feel it is dumb to take up this battle as i may lose everything. So be it. that is life!

pippasweetie wrote on August 28th, 2010 at 3:55 pm
pippasweetie (elite user)

@ Pinto - Dr Sean Gough was one of the easiest searches I have tried on "google" for while. Sometimes a good idea before poking fun.

Good luck with it all and please update the community on how it works out.

pippasweetie wrote on August 28th, 2010 at 4:00 pm
pippasweetie (elite user)

Sorry "Mc Gough", of course.

STUACA wrote on August 28th, 2010 at 4:20 pm

To all reading this,

Unfortunately the report that Dr McGough wrote is true and I am a former teacher from the school. For anyone thinking about applying to the school I recommend that you make your own judgements rather than criticise what has been written. What Dr McGough is simply doing is making a community warning that this is not the school for qualified teachers or teachers that are passionate about making a difference to the education of Vietnamese students.

For the students, parents and current teachers sake I hope that changes will be made for the better allowing it to operate as a professional school which I believe it could be one day.

majortio wrote on August 28th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

i worked there part time for one week when all the troubles accumulated in a walk-out. I walked away as well.
It's a disaster school and a disgrace.
The funny thing is, they called me and asked if I could teach more since there are lots of teachers lacking.
They had a good chance for improvement with the doc but they got rid of him.
I am not sure how many teachers are still teaching and what is going on now.
I might take a look on monday..;-))

TscTempest wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 1:11 am
TscTempest (elite user)

It's funny reading all this now. I passed the school recently and thought about it. having read the above, I can't help asking why? why remain? why battle on? The students? Their parents? Personal pride? I can't believe it, basically.

Walking away without protest defeats the purpose in the first place, to not walk away is to accept the status quo. Even if you accept De Bono's premise of changing the system from within, it still rests on the premise that you are in a position to effect change, how little that might be.

OK I've rabbited on, but be that as it may, why do you persist? Walk away. There are other jobs. there are other students. There are other systems, There are other countries. Your integrity, is not tied to here and now only! Nor is your success... or failure.

Dr Mc. I don't envy your position - been there done that, got the emotional scars to prove it.

best wishes

Tsc Tempest. DCA
yada yada yada.

suddenpaws wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 8:46 am
suddenpaws (elite user)


I am really glad I knocked them back now. :)

suddenpaws wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 8:54 am
suddenpaws (elite user)

Oh, and Doc, I agree with the others - get out. I struggled on at Uniworld for a long time, putting up with sexism, unprofessionalism and bad management, but through it all I was able to make a real change with my kids... only to have the school dump me because they didn't like me, despite being told I was an excellent teacher with outstanding results. At least if you leave on your terms, it's a little better. Trust me, they will find a way to kick you, so leave before they do.

dawnation wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 9:55 am
dawnation (elite user)

Is the media covering any of this? And don't scoff, Tuoi Tre, VietnamNet, and Thanh Nien have all done some great investigative work on education issues recently. Might be worthwhile to have this taken to the public.

Frankly, it sounds like the teachers have been put through the wringer, but I'm also concerned about the hypothetical Vietnamese family that may be forking over the profits of a small but successful business to pay tuition so their kids can get ahead.

Also, I wondering about parent response? I'm well-aware that among the upper class there tends to be a lethargic response to problems, as long as their kids can claim an "international" education. Still, there must be concern on the parents' forums about these issues -- or are they completely hidden from the parents/students?

sean777 wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 11:47 am

why not walk away?
I have asked the teachers to go back, keep their heads down and just work as best they can? Why? Because they are all thousands of miles away from home, isolated from their comfort zones of family and friends supporting them and thus, they are reliant on that monthly wage packet. But the type of corrupted system at Hanoi Academy has to be stopped at some point. Teachers go from school to school, many trying their best, but abused by a system that takes advantage of their circumstances. The parents are also trapped, especially the parents who have saved up their last Dong to give to their children’s education. The whole plan by this management was to get as many paid up students as possible and then pull the plug on all the grand promises. They actually gave instructions to staff to secretly undermine any and all changes I made. They deliberately subverted many actions i took just in order to manufacture problems and have an excuse to dismiss me at the start of the school year. But it only changes if someone says NO! I will not step onto the Academy grounds while this bunch of misfits are in control, but I will use whatever means I can to keep on protesting and attacking them. This community has many contacts, media, etc. Pass our message on. New Hanoian is a social networking site and I have no problem with trying to use it for positive social change. So if anyone has ideas on how to expand this campaign then help communicate them to the right people. The corruption in education has reached a totally unacceptable level and must be stopped. I communicated to Thanh Nien, but they have yet to reply and maybe they won't? VietnamNews has yet to reply to offers to tell them the story. Hanoi Academy has reached the point where children are physically harmed, racism is a standard policy, achievements can be obtained merely through envelope payments, nepotism is the main employment factor, teachers and staff are managed through blackmail and intimidation and the whole system there reflects all that is wrong in education. It is easy to walk away. Totally understandable and I fully support those teachers who have walked away. But I will not walk away. The corruption of the system in Hanoi Academy stops here now!!! In some ways it is unacceptable for me to walk away from the responsibility of keeping up the protest. I was not a teacher. I was the CEO, the Chairman of the Education Board and the one they put up as the front for their perverse plan to make profit at any cost and care nothing for the children. If I walk away it says I agree or accept what they have done and are continuing to do. The system here has struggled to wipe away this cancer in the education system and had more failures than successes. Now it is the turn of the People. I have led this protest but the sooner all the international community can get behind it and i can run behind them the better. Otherwise the protest could be hijacked by people saying i am just trying to look after myself, have some grand plan for power and wealth myself and I am serving my own interests. I want education delivery as the main focus, professional teacher contracts with professional development as part of them. I want a centre set up there to identify autism, aspergers and other education challenges children face instead of hiding the problems behind payments for success. I want professional certification processes and ensure that children have proper rewards at the end of their education. I want clear safety mechanisms put into the system so that children are protected. I want parents directly involved and for them to have monitoring and partnership mechanisms in place so they can contribute to the running of the Academy. I want a school based management system in place with team leadership as the power structure and the whole Academy run in a transparent manner, particularly where it comes to finance. I would be delighted to see this all put in place and I gain absolutely nothing for myself. Maybe I should walk away but I cannot. The issues involved are far bigger and far more important than me.

NickinNam wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

*...racism is a standard policy,

As has been explored on other threads (search for "discrimination"") there is no law or moral angst to counter any sort of discrimination in Vietnam. It is the status quo, and whom somebody wants to hire is their business. If you report to the Board and the Board says "white people only" or whatever--it's their "school". The Board represents the shareholders (owners).

You, as a CEO are only hired help. Remember your place, Tay. You yourself were hired BECAUSE you are a white face to market to the parents. I'm sure you are very qualified and respected. But if you were black, or Asian and twice as qualified, you would not have been offered your present employment. Your white face is a marketing tool.

* achievements can be obtained merely through envelope payments,
Yes. In every school in Vietnam, "achievements" can be obtained through envelopes. My wife, a professor at the University of Music, Theater and Television, complains all the time about this. It is the reason she is staying at Master's level, and not bothering earning a Doctorate--because "in Vietnam, 'Doctor' means nothing, only means you paid somebody. No Respect for Vietnam diploma!"
Perhaps that's how the editors of the newspapers you've been contacting--Phd's all most likely--got THEIR Doctorates?

*nepotism is the main employment factor,

Again, welcome to Asia. That is the case in EVERY BUSINESS in Vietnam, and throughout much of Asia. It is perfectly normal to the Vietnamese mind. One must take care of one's family first and foremost.

Doctor, I wish you much luck, since you seem hell-bent on trying to change 1000 years of indigenous culture, tradition and habit.

May I make this constructive suggestion: the old military adage "Lead, follow or get out of the way" is quite apt in your situation. If you lack the power-base and institutional support to grasp a hold of this situation, you are left with two choices:

--get on the graft gravy train yourself and say "yes sir" alot, or
--get out of the way.

You don't seem like the type to get on the graft gravy train.
I imagine you being played by Arnold Schwartzenegger in the movie version of this story ("International School Cop").

Or perhaps Stallone as an aging Rambo, now a Phd. in counterintelligence returned one last time to teach these people a lesson on how wrong their culture and system is, as the dogged and unrelenting doyen of an International School hell-bent on educating the spoiled rich kids--saving them even from their own parents! ("Rambo V: The Education").

Two final notes:

1. Don't expect a Vietnamese newspaper to make Vietnamese people look bad while supporting a foreigner. Since your Board has all the money, they can "buy" any story they want in the press.

2. Paragraphs are very nice.

May the "meh's" and "fails" begin. (My fellow community members hate it when I tell the truth here.)

STUACA wrote on August 29th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I agree walking away is not the answer even though I had to resign last week and completed my last day of work on Thursday. My decision to leave and take my daughter out of the school was due to many reasons which I'm not going to publicly state but I would still be there if I didn't take a stand to want they expected me to do.

There are many dedicated teachers that have put an enormous amount of time and emotion into HA. These teachers are still teaching good classes and holding the school together with the hope that things will change. The school has the qualified and experienced teachers required to run a good school, they just need a Board of Directors that value education.

The parents are aware of all these issues now and are not accepting what the BOD's has done to their children. I believe that action will be taken and the school will make all the changes needed to make it a great school. Walking away is accepting what the BOD has done which is something I didn't want to do but finding it hard to come to terms with.

I have no doubt that there are plenty of teaching jobs but when you are passionate about your school it is very hard to walk away. The teachers that are staying are doing the right thing at the moment but who knows what the BOD will do to them next.

Stosskraft wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 3:15 am
Stosskraft (elite user)

It's nice to see people working in school who actually care about education.

Wish you all the best of luck.

Nickinnam seems so full of himself he needs a trailer.

I would post some warnings online about this school to warn parents and prospective teachers.

Good luck

suddenpaws wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 10:26 am
suddenpaws (elite user)

Sean777, having read your last post, I am quite concerned that you are attempting to achieve the impossible, and am under the impression that working in a school in this part of the world is a new experience for you. So, from one professional educator to another, here's my 2c worth!

First, in his defence (I never thought I would say that!), Nickinam is right: We ARE hired for our skin colour, whether we like it or not, and racism is a way of doing business here, whether we like it or not (even your school has untrained, unqualified teachers in front of their classes, doesn't it? But they do have white faces...); nepotism IS a way of doing business in Vietnam and throughout Asia, whether we like it or not; payment for education IS a way of learning in Vietnam and throughout Asia, whether we like it or not (having worked with international students back in Australia, I can vouch for it being an ingrained attitude, one that we at my University had a lot of problems with).

As a passionate teacher who loves my work, I can fully appreciate your goals to achieve many of the things you are talking about, like a special education focus, proper safety mechanisms, and running the school including finance in a transparent manner, and when I got here, I had those dreams and visions, too... but, seriously mate, forget it. This is not Australia, or America, or the UK. The school is, in the end, a Vietnamese run school, and these things are not going to happen, at least in our teaching careers. For years I have been teaching children here with developmental problems in a standard classroom in which the parents themselves were the last ones to acknowledge that there was a problem because it meant 'losing face'; screaming inside at the mismanagement and waste that is perpetrated in the name of 'Administration' (all you at schools where the photocopier was out of action for three days while someone in the office stopped saying "it's not my job" and actually got around to ordering a toner, when they knew a week ago it needed imminent replacement, know what I am talking about); and lamenting over the fact that playgrounds and other areas are a nightmare for health and safety from a western standard. But, in the end, you have to step back and say that one phrase that I have to remember so often here in Asia: "You can't change the world." Yes, all these things are really important, and awesome for a professional, western based education, but as long as your management is not western, forget it, (and just for the record, even the schools with "western" management here have many similar problems to deal with.) You are trying to tell people who have been doing these things the same way for a very, very long time that what they are doing is wrong, and that you are right. Yeah, we might appreciate it, and understand it, but don't shake your head when they don't, and don't be mortified when they act to save face. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment, and consider how you would feel if you were told to change all the practices that you accept as gospel in one swift action... I don't know about anyone else, but I would probably tell you to go jump.

So, all I would say is, yes, your dreams for Hanoi Academy are great, and would make it a wonderful school for all students (and for teachers, too!), but don't shoot yourself if it doesn't happen. Hanoi Academy is not an "International School", and never will be, so expecting the school to be run in the same way as an "International School" is pretty unrealistic. In the end, Hanoi Academy is a business - a money making exercise - and as such, you have to appreciate that management think in business terms, not in educational terms (which, as teachers, we find really really hard!) You have to be flexible, and accept that you can't change the system, but if you work within it and understand the inherent limitations, it is possible to make some worthwhile changes, particularly in curriculum and within the classroom itself, while still allowing management to save face. I know that, slowly, things will change here, and indeed have been changing, but the key word here is slowly.

Anyway, that's my 2c worth. Good luck!

sean777 wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

The feedback is appreciated, whether positive or not. I have worked here for ten years and been chiefly helping international companies, officials, etc accept the culture and work with it. That is from looking after a company with 20,000 Vietnamese workings to helping the Army reform its SOEs to working at the top with MOET. My businesses covered insurance, security , import and export of everything and hospitality. I have worked inspecting school/colleges in minority areas and across the whole of Vietnam.

Nepotism, corruption, etc are not only part of the Asian way but equally part of the international, although they have had far more years practice in covering it up. Acceptance and even 'getting out of the way' is often a necessary tactic.

But not this time. Corruption, mismanagement and deception have no place in the education of children and accepting these in education is guilt by association. Take the money or hide from the responsibility is just not acceptable behaviour. Not everyone has to be active in the fight against corruption, but no one should accept it as a an inevitable part of life.

The Child Law of Vietnam is against it. The Education law is against it. The Constitution of Vietnam is against it. They are also clear legal documents against racism, the ill treatment of children and the mismanagement of the systems. The legal documents were issued in the context of the Vietnam culture and require all citizens to abide by them. Everything I have demanded at Hanoi Academy is exactly in line with Vietnam Law.

There is in the Government and the Party a growing policy of following exactly our own demand- an end to the corruption in education. Hanoi Academy is criminally corrupt with the treatment of children directly contradicting many articles of the Vietnam Child Law. The standards and system of delivering education at the Academy is directly against the Education Law obligations. The policy of racism is directly against the legal obligations of the Constitution of Vietnam. The lack of financial clarity and discipline breaks Enterprise Law rules.

Stop saying it is still ok because it is the Vietnam way. That is an insult to the Vietnam culture. That is accepting the perverse and corrupt people who hyjack the culture as a means to excuse their crimes. Corruption is being tackled in all areas of business and politics and some successes are already evident. So why not education? The answer is that people are turning a blind eye and saying- its the some yet to be born generation of the futures role to tackle it. It is this generations obligation to tackle it and not leave a mess for future generations to clear up.

Already the fight is dwindling, and a small group of corrupt and selfish businessmen are watching this with glee, rubbing their dirty hands together and counting the Dollars, laughing at the international teachers and their inability to change things. Teachers are being forced back into their cages and the sickness in education thrives on.

Well it will not continue. I refuse to let it continue. It is wrong and it must be stopped. Their is no place for corruption in the education of children. Stop finding reasons to accept and excuse it. It's a cancer and only cutting it out will cure it and the longer you wait for the operation the worse the hold it gets on the healthy body, until one day it kills it. Cut the cancer of corruption out of education TODAY! Many of you experienced it here when your were alone. So unite, stand together and force it to change. Starting doing it nows. Talk in the bars and restaurants. Make calls to friends in the media, tv, newspapers. Drop letters to your embassies. Send petitions to the police. Focus the battle on Hanoi Academy. Call meetings, ask friends to join in the campaign, ask Vietnamese teachers, managers to lend their support. Demand change, demand the rights of children to be safe, healthy and educated. Lets change one school and then cascade it out to every school.

TscTempest wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 1:03 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

Suddenpaws wrote: "consider how you would feel if you were told to change all the practices that you accept as gospel in one swift action..."

I think every 'white faced' teacher ever asked to teach a classroom of 60+ students conversational english AND be able to show demonstrable improvement AND evaluate them so that every one passes WITHOUT playing favorites, probably know this feeling well.

OR any teacher faced with the dilemma of removing disruptive students from a class, request disciplinary action to be taken, OR DOS attempt to suspend or expel a student ONLY to be told, "You can't do that!" and to find themselves on the other end of a disciplinary inquiry, would also understand this feeling.

Any teacher who walks into a classroom only to find that all teaching resources and ancillary educational materials needed to forward the students towards meeting ephemeral (god help you if the curriculum is defined and readable in English) curriculum goals are non-existent and need to be funded directly out of the teacher's pocket lest the teacher be penalized for not meeting performance goals, would probably also understand this feeling.

This is probably what the good Dr here is butting up against; the irrational, unreasonable, and unfathomable decision making process that is undermining his expectations of how a school 'ought' to be run.

I could try to explain the confusion ethic that underpins some of this but that would be worth a book, and I'm not that great a writer. Suffice to say, a good introduction to all this lies in the following article:
The Confucius Conntection (pdf)

Get it while you can because this is normally a pay per view item.

sean777 wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Should of proofread that last piece.
self- evaluation?
Grammar and punctuation= 5 out of 10- teachers comment- can do better.
What am I coming up against? A deliberate and planned strategy of making money through every means possible, and in the process destroying all sensible options for adequate resources, properly supported teachers and a good educational system. It must be stopped!

Grant wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 1:52 pm
Grant (elite user)


I thought Joan of Arc was burned at the stake?


TscTempest wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 2:31 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

Sorry Doc, but the last paragraph ought to have been proofed, perhaps trimmed down to:

"It is wrong and it must be stopped. There is no place for corruption in the education of children."

We would have fully understood your position and strength of feeling about the situation.

As it stands I feel compelled to say that your final 'call to arms' is "Inappropriate" not only in your current environment, but also for this forum. I am not a moderator, nor do I wish to be one. However, Sir, your final paragraph could easily be construed as semi-seditious claptrap; at the very least, an unwisely put turn of phrase or two.

Please be cautious, such things can and often have the habit of turning around and bitting their creators, not to mention the potential for collateral fallout.


SEA08 wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 4:11 pm
SEA08 (elite user)

Wow, sometimes this website makes me feel bad about being an expat here. The guy is trying to do something good for the country and the people, he has the skills and the experience and the majority of comments are the bull@## "this is Vietnam" line. To just spout off it can't be done, it's the culture, to someone that has been working here over 10 years with a lengthy list of achievements sounds bitter and lazy.

In all honestly Sean keep doing what you can, don't waste too much time on this site. You do have a chance to make a difference and we respect you for trying to make things better here.

Newman wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 4:36 pm
Newman (elite user)

This quote springs to mind:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Everyone has to pick their battles. Sean has picked his battle. He is entitled to fight it as he sees fit. I would agree that towards the end of the previous post there is some language that drifts into territory that may cause problems here. What needs to be thought about is the strategy to fight the battle and the tactics to be employed - such discussion would be unwelcome on TNH I suspect but could be taken 'offline' by interested parties.

Can I also suggest that a lot of this information needs to find it's way into reviews on HA for future reference by teachers being offered roles? The Top Spots/Reviews structure lends itself to some of the experiences listed in this thread.

sean777 wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 5:24 pm

There is an old story that goes something along the lines- there was a man in a block of flats at the onset of fascism in Germany. The Nazi's came and one by one arrested his neighbours, and because it was none of his business he did nothing, said nothing. Then one day they came to arrest him, but there was no one to protest or protect him as he was the only one left.

When something is morally wrong, legally wrong and totally WRONG there is no avenue that should be barred from use as a means for justice. What is being suggested is that wrong breathes and right should be silenced. Moderators of what? justice? how can you moderate justice? What does that make the moderator? Calling for that is asking someone else do the censorship you now want in order to safeguard the status quo. What is this Claptrap you talk of? To call for change for the sake of safe, healthy and educated children is claptrap in your opinion??? How?

Social network sites have become vehicles for the innane and often silly comments of disillusioned people. But that was not the original purpose. They can be a positive pathway to becoming the tools of unity and a social vehicle for change that reflects the views and beliefs of the majority, while also providing an opening for the minority- any minority. Or they can merely be the means to drown out the calls for justice beneath the shouts for superficiality.

NickinNam wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

He may have picked his battle--but he joined the wrong Army.

He is the CEO. He reports to the Board, and carries out their wishes. That is the role of the CEO. The Board governs, the CEO executes.

The Gentleman sounds like a Union Organizer, complete with socialist rhetoric ("Unite!").

He betrays his "team", biting the hand that feeds him.

Perhaps he should consider continuing his battle with the proper hat on.

Stosskraft, (after launching an unsupported ad hominem at me) suggests that the CEO of this Educational Corporation "post some warnings online about this school to warn parents and prospective teachers."

That is the equivalent of the CEO of McDonalds posting "Why are you people eating this trash! My Board of Directors is just trying to make MONEY from you! Eat a balanced diet! Drink water, not soda! Eat more fruits and vegetables. This is a scam to make you fat and get your money."

Funny how you never hear a CEO running around bad mouthing the product or service in public. The CEO is hired (and fired) by the Board. His sole responsibility is to manage the assets of the investors and carry out the wishes of the board.

His cause is noble. The teachers and students should be treated well. Resources should be properly allocated. But that is not his job. That is the job of a Union Leader, or Advocate. His job is to please his board.

With the number of views this thread has gathered, don't you think they know what he's doing?

I wish the Doctor luck in his reform. I suggest he find a new uniform to wear, rather than that of CEO (Investors' Advocate).

sean777 wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

For a minute there i thought i was in the US or Europe. But no, i am in Vietnam- the Socialist republic where it is written into the law and part of the ideology that all CEOs are to forego some degree of corporate greed for the social welfare of the community. They are actually required to act as social benefactors, both to their own workers and to the community. It is a communist country and the position of any CEO is supposed to reflect that. Just because many don't doesn't mean it is not so. Also, i am a ideologist first and a CEO second. Plus, they didn't feed me more than a morsel as i did most of the work for them for charity and it actually cost me a fortune.

majortio wrote on August 30th, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Grant wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 12:14 am
Grant (elite user)


Before all hell gets deleted. @majotio: Accurate

hmmmmm seems like a discussion to moi

Nuke 'em. Nuke 'em badddd.... 2002 Nuke Nukem'


pinto wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 11:44 am

See, I told you - Irish Joke!

TscTempest wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 12:05 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

Be that as it may: Your beliefs, your advocacy, your feelings, your charity - yes I read the entire thing. Your action to call people to arms is wrong. Plain. Simple. Wrong.

This is a Socialist society. There are checks and balances, there are regulations, and even an anti-corruption focus - try directing your concerns through the official channels.

However, AskA.N.H is not the forum for this sort of venting. Yes, it is good to know about such a situation, it IS valuable to know what is going on behind the closed doors of such a large and imposing institution, good on you, "Whistleblower!" But perhaps you should post this as a review. You will have then done everything you need to do to inform this community, and potential newbies about the drastic situation at HA.

I DO believe it to be a drastic situation.
I DO believe that someone ought to take a stand.

I DON't believe that you are doing your cause any good by venting here.


making a public call to arms of both foreigners AND Vietnamese to rise up against this school, AND then others is patent nonsense, not to mention an act of insurrection.

One of the biggest issues that informal clubs and groups face here is that of locals congregating and acting as a unified group with purpose and direction.

You Sir are advocating all of that with the intent to exercise power and anger towards some organization, a very visible and public organization.

For Christ's sake man! Wake up! Pull your head in!

Of course, do what you have to do, but setting yourself up to be a martyr wont help your cause.

You've been politely (moderately) told many things for your benefit yet for all your education, and experience you still seem incredible green around the gills. It's enough to make a grown man weep!

Consider the first paragraph of the following age old, sage advice, before you continue further to open your mouth to change feet, again:

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

I truly feel for your situation. But I think your present strategy and current course of action is wrong for this situation.

I wish you all the best of luck.

yours sincerely,

Tsc Tempest. DCA

TscTempest wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 7:58 pm
TscTempest (elite user)

I've been going over this again and again. I know, I have nothing better to do. However, I can't help thinking that this is all a setup.

Not to be disparaging, but Sean777 seems like an idealistic recent graduate, rather than a hard boiled corporate campaigner.

This is not to say that CEO's aren't passionate about what they believe in, but surely they don't seem so naive about the ways of the world?

What concerns me most is that this thread might be a masqueraded attempt to destroy the reputation of a real CEO.


pinto wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 8:49 pm

This is now getting very, very scary, introducing another generation of McGoughs.
Where is this going, Alpha?
I can only assume that you and the guys at the Embassy, on the second floor, left, (swipe your card), (Say hi to GD for me), are heavy investors in this college.
Sh*t, when they go rogue they are hard to control? And then you have to clean up the toilet.Maybe time to close this down before you blow your cover.
(PS they are watching you in Honkers too)

hanoikiwi wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 10:32 pm
hanoikiwi (elite user)

Good evening SJ

Having been in Vietnam for quite sometime - yes and maybe now and then had a drink or two....I have to say that I admire your father and his desire to fix/sort out this situation.....his desire to end corruption/poor education levels/failure to deliver promised levels of education.....ripped of parents....abused teachers(western) the end of it all all that is wrong with Hanoi Academy apparently.

I am sure the parents are absolutely furious/angry/want to kill......the BOD......but even if the government is involved this is essentially a private school - ie no ties with the Department of Education....and the BOD is well cashed up and I assume well connected to all who are in government.

The problem is that this level of corruption starts at the top - well above anyone who has commented/will comment on here, well above anyone who is part of the academic/educational where does that leave your father....and to be honest the students,teachers,support staff,local teachers.....all in a very difficult situation where truth,integrity, second fiddle to how things work and will probably work for the next decade or sadly maybe even more.

Other International Schools here have gone through grief and difficult times, some have come out of it all the stronger...HIS for sure though different scenario in some ways....but you need to accept right versus actual doesnt always happen and lead to a win/win situation for everyone.

I think it would be interesting to know who the board members are by name...other companies that they are involved any of them driving a me the suggestion is that they are or will be soon..... but maybe that is my glasses...shiraz tinted as opposed to rose...

I dont know how your father came to be involved.....I hope there is no financial involvment to be honest....

So lets say your father sorts the school out...what do you have .....a school that produces smart, intelligent,qualified students..... who then enter the university system... post grad overseas if they have the cash,connections,pass marks,win a scholarship or .....the university here so they study and can "buy" their people to sit their exams.......

I have to say that the "Seans" or whoever is/are( sorry I have never taught English...) involved need to understand that at all levels of,forestry,tourism,.....involve the same intrinsic problems(corruption,nepotism...) currently in Vietnam and it is near impossible to change it in the short term.

I am perceived as being very difficult generally where I have worked (no schools) but sometimes get the result I desire...its a rare moment of joy and satisfaction well spaced month to month over almost 10 years.It involves me and maybe 1-5 others where as I have to say your father is essentially battling the BOD ... who number X and these X number control all the X local staff who essentially control....most things........

This thread maybe be deleted the MODS...sorry but discussion,bitching, etc is better than vanilla... but I digress....

I spend long periods annoyed with the way business runs but there is actually no way to change it the short term.

In my time here my favourite BOD has always been the question here about BOD's.........zoi oi probably long deleted....still more hits than this but....

So back in Birmingham how long does it take to sort this problem....UK v Asia/ would be interesting to know. The western newspapers have "freedom" to report the apparent truth but here.....they do some "exposes" but in my time 1 was closed down for revealing the Government bought 70 Mercedes for a ASEAN conference and there is serious censorship.......every wonder early morning why your computer is slow????......

My quiet view of Vietnam is that anyone local who invests money wants it back "yesterday" just to be sure they recover all costs NOW.....thats why so many tourists get ripped off...thats why so many people don't come this is the BOD's thinking.... street vendors work the same way?

I wish your "father" well.....I see Nickinnam's comments as quite is the way the water goes down the drain.....

We can all chat on about degrees,experience,PHd's,but the real truth is varied:
- there are some very rich and unscruputous people in Vietnam
- there is a rich middle class who want there kids to have a truly great education with the view they can possible go overseas to do a degree or post degree MA
-there is alot of people her who are happy to put up the banners or the marketing and deliver shite.....check out the English Schools on here..
-sometimes in life you do have to accept....I as a bit of "fatbastard" will never walk on water...

I have to say mostly I agree with the comments above here including from the "Sean Family" - I agree with the SFamily sentiments but "reality" here is that here in Vietnam "morally correct","sexual equality".....

So no spell check....

"Sean Senior" says on and perptuates the "rip off rather than work to close the school...shite for those there but for me the best option.......

As you no doubt well know the British Army was happy to sacrifice the Aussies and Kiwis and Indians.....well anyone from the Comonwealth to be honest..........glasses MODS..leave it up for a while because to be honest VANILLE is a bit....boring

So having moved to shiraz shaded g

Grant wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 11:15 pm
Grant (elite user)

Spot on

Grant wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 11:17 pm
Grant (elite user)


Oops. Sorry


pinto wrote on August 31st, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Hey something missing here - SJ? Who is he - where is this posting - Editorial imperative or orders from above – even weirder than Pater?

sean777 wrote on September 1st, 2010 at 1:43 am

Do you think this is a drunken game? As a teacher you hold a childs life- many childrens lives, in your hands. Do you ever think about that responsibility. Yes, i know many of you do. But some seem to think this is some kind of weird experiment.
first- lets see the monetary side- i went from international expert at $333 plus $80 per diem a day adviser to working at the academy for $3000 a month (they said they needed me to work for charity because they had no money). i accepted because it was a chance to do something for children. Idealistic, stupid, etc- ok. i am guilty. Last year this academy ruined one year of 500+ childrens lives and i wanted to try and make sure this year of 900+ lives was a little better.Ok, i accept all your negative comments, selfish, stupid, fanciful , etc. OK, maybe i was, but i really just wanted to do something for all those children. Yes, the international teachers are important, the professional contracts, etc were all important but to be honest, they were a big second to the future of the children. i know in your intoxicated bar gossip i may be seen as some stupid individual. But i have businesses here, roots, friends, money earning opportunities. But i seemed to have put all at risk because i wanted 900 children to have a decent education. And to be truthful, i don't really care what ever you think when it comes to setting what you think against what was the rights of those children. i called for protest- to get higher salaries? to become big boss again ? to get revenge? or some other selfish reason??? We are all a little selfish and maybe i have sometimes been the same. but i really believe that what we all forget is that those children, all the children you teach are innocent and need protection. i really believe these people in this Board are wrong. terribly terribly wrong. and that they are harming children more than anybody else. it just all seems so morally wrong and when you say moderate this chat, shut this person up, stop this debate, it just seems like you are agreeing with what is happening, if not by doing at least by letting it happen again and again. can we not all agree at least to argue and pick fun at each other but even more- to agree to defend these children against this cancer. Ok- have your fun, spill out the innane comments. But at least all agree- the real victims of this farce at hanoi academy are the children, and whatever else we do can't we agree to end it here as far as the children are concerned. OK- maybe my tactics are wrong, maybe you all have a better way. Well, do it, voice it and i will concede to you, i will support you. tell me how i can stop these children having to go through another year of fantasy education, with a Board using them. even putting their own children through the farce they have created that only makes sense when you see the financial rewards they bleed from this perversion they have created. it is time to put a stop to the corruption. Can't you at least concede that instead of saying it is the asian way, the culture, the structure beyond our control like some guard at Dachau bellowing out 'i was only following orders'.

sean777 wrote on September 1st, 2010 at 1:57 am

Maybe you are right. i am just tilting at windmills. But if i am right then 900 children are going to go through a whole year more of adult greed games, where they just don't matter! This Board have been explained by me to what they are putting their own children through. I could not believe it when they just ignored everything i said. I could not accept that a father and mother would put their own children through this farce just to gain a few dollars more and cover up their involvement in past corruption. when i saw it i knew all the other children had no chance. this is not me fighting some selfish crusade. i just could not see my reflection in the mirror in the morning and know i chickened out of fighting against it. it seems so much bigger than me. So much more important that in the end i don't really see anything of my own future as important or defendable.

grubby wrote on September 1st, 2010 at 5:40 am

Alright folks, that's about enough from this thread. It's heading for deletion very soon for having devolved into just the kind of grumbling expat discussion we don't want to see on here.

TscTempest wrote on September 1st, 2010 at 9:21 am
TscTempest (elite user)

@ sean777

what I truly want to say, cannot be said in public - I don't advocate ad hominem attacks.

However Sir:
I have not advocated gaging you;
I have not advocated diminishing your experience;
I have not advocated that you "should not" do what you must do.

Unfortunately, the way things have been written, which really don't answer the OP, or forward the usefulness of this thread, suggests that you're greenhorn just out of college. Sorry to say, but the lack of maturity, wisdom or forethought in your comments belies the fact that you hold a PhD and have relevant, ongoing business experience.

You keep going on about being moderated, there is no moderation here, get over it! No one has stopped you from espousing the diatribe you've put out.

However, I am seriously concerned.

IF you are the CEO of HA, then fundamentally you are not doing your job.

IF, as it seems, you are not Dr Sean McGough then you are besmirching another person's name and reputation, and that has got to stop!

This thread is not answering the original question in any way, shape or form, any more. However, it is one of the lower points in NH history - one full of tell all, whistleblower, griping that ought to be consigned to the annuls of history.

To the NH hosts, rather than delete the thread, I humbly suggest that you just close the thread from further discussion.


Grant wrote on September 1st, 2010 at 9:29 am
Grant (elite user)


......and we are waiting for what?


This question has been archived and may no longer be answered

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