Sad to write this review after putting in 2 years at this school, 18 months of which was as head teacher for English.
This school, along with the other ones run by chairperson Dong Thi Lan, puts profit before everything else. I've watched lots of teachers get released from their contracts here for trying to make a positive difference for the students. They have no qualms about getting rid of anybody who questions things, such as their recent use of students for advertising. The school cancelled afternoon classes for several months just to run a 5 year anniversary to be shown on TV (of which the students had no creative input and were used as puppets)
At the end of the day, the only way to survive here as an employee is to follow the tyrannical leadership.
If you are a prospective parent, pay close attention to the way students are learning here. It's all rote learning. very standard stuff. The board are not educators, they are business people, and there is very little oversight or vision.
I guess it could be worse, but for the price you pay, there is much much much better value and more modern teaching methods elsewhere.
Parents who have sent their kids here for a while have expressed this concern to me and asked for advice on where to take their kids as they feel they have been duped. I have to agree with them.
'billmac' believes what he wrote because he is Bill McKeith, the "Senior Advisor" to the school. I am a former teacher, here to give a proper review.
The primary school has been making great strides. It seems that both the Vietnamese and foreign staff are generally of high quality, and the enrollment has continued to increase.
The secondary school on the other hand is in shambles. While there are certainly a percentage of quality Vietnamese teachers at this school, the majority are unfit for their position. This is not the teachers fault however. The school gives very little support in the way of student discipline or teacher training. The school doesn't really care what happens in the classroom and doesn't want to be bothered with problems such as fist fighting, swearing, screaming, skipping class, suggestive sexual behavior, harassment etc. This behavior is primarily because the administration sees fit to allow the kids to have 5,10,15 minute unsupervised breaks between every lesson, while allowing them to purchase caffeinated drinks in the cafeteria. One doesn't have to be a genius to see how this would be a problem. The "head of school" is actually a principle at another school in Hanoi, and is rarely in attendance at VAS unless for a photo opportunity or meeting. Therefore, his wife who has a business degree and works in the office, is the one micro managing decisions on education and therefore the future of many lovely and bright children. I'm still awestruck at how business people think that they can pretend to be educators.
The "global" program is simply a poorly organized literacy program with absolutely terrible textbooks. There are no ESOL classes to help students who are unable to perform to these textbooks. And due to over scheduling and being spread over many grades, and dealing with behavior issues, the foreign teachers do not have the time to offer much differentiation between higher and lower level students. So the lower level students stay that way.
The library is rarely open. Sports, parties, and anniversary celebrations are given priority over class time. The students will disappear from class for a week or so if told they must practice for a party/celebration. The computer room is primarily a place for video games.
Teachers have been caught allowing students to cheat on exams, and are still working there.
If you are a parent in Hanoi and looking for a good school to send your child, think about this. Due to gross negligence by the administration of this school, you are actually paying 5-6 thousand dollars a year for a lower quality Vietnamese education, with a suspect English program attached. The diploma from VAS is practically worthless as it only allows you to go to a couple of smaller schools in Australia. Yes, your child can get IELTS training, but there are other choices in Hanoi where your money would be much better spent.
And if any current parents of students are reading this review, get involved and fix your child's school! Its your money. Demand change! Your child's future depends on it!
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