SSIS Quality and Fees 2021-2022
To: Dr. Catriona Moran – Head of School
CC: SSIS Management Board
Saigon South International School
6th August 2021
Dear Dr. Moran,
Dear SSIS Management Board,
We are writing to voice out our concerns about our children’s education at SSIS this coming school year and the related fees.
We all recognize the strong impact of Covid19 on SSIS and other schools and we know for sure that SSIS is trying to provide the best possible education for our children in this situation. However, based on what we observed last year online learning at SSIS, we don’t think that the current quality of online education provided met the expectation of most SSIS parents, especially those with younger children. From the information you and SSIS staff provided yesterday at the Virtual School Information Session, we did not see any promising sign of improvement.
We observe the following from online learning at SSIS thus far, which has also been voiced out by parents groups at many other schools:
1. Distance/on-line learning for kindergarten and elementary children is not very suitable for their ages and needs. The same is also true for many students in middle school and even high school, who get used to learning via direct interactions.
2. The majority of parents do not have the first language English skills to assist with on-line learning and homework.
3. The same parents also have busy workloads and responsibilities which does not allow them to dedicate enough quality time to assisting their children with self-study lessons.
4. Everyone is trying to replace the interpersonal interactions and interpersonal skills acquired through their teachers and friends at school which is almost impossible.
We appreciate that the teachers and staff at SSIS have to take extra tasks with online learning. However, the school management board should also recognize that the parents and students are even more stressed. We have to maintain our jobs and businesses under extreme economic conditions, while taking care of a greater part of the teachers’ roles on children’s learning at home. Many families have suffered massive financial damage and have had to restructure their businesses / services or have lost their jobs or had imposed salary reductions. The value for money equation is now completely out of sync.
Many of us have contacted you individually but our opinions were not considered for this school year. We conducted an initial survey with more than 100 SSIS parents and below are the top 5 requests that we all agreed upon. Therefore, we would like to publicly request you to consider the following:
1. Withdraw the ~5.4% increase in tuition fee for 2021-2022 school year, which is against the instruction from Ministry of Education and Training at Official Letter dated 1505/BGDDT-KHTC dated April 14, 2021. An increase of school fee during this hard time, when joblessness or bankruptcy becomes more and more popular, is extremely unsympathetic to the financial impact facing everyone and will hardly receive any acceptability from the society as well as the parental community.
2. Provide additional measures to assess the students’ online learning quality. The current measures are not suitable, especially for the subjects that require more interpersonal interactions. Assessment tests should also be given more frequently to measure students’ acquisition capability more accurately to adjust the teaching method accordingly.
3. Enhance direct communication and interactions between the teachers and the students in class activities. Last year, many elementary students spent ~half of the school time on their own.
4. Postpone the school start date until September and change the school end date accordingly, at least for the Kindergarten and Elementary classes in order to minimize the virtual school period with the hope that students can return to school in September. If necessary, please also shorten fall, winter, and spring breaks to ensure that our children have the best opportunity to study.
5. Provide more engaging and meaningful online PE activities.
In addition, many parents would also like request SSIS the following:
6. Provide a detailed instruction to students and families who would like to take a gap year in 2021-2022 and come back to school in 2022-2023. A large number of families are considering this option.
7. Provide textbooks with detailed instructions and keywords for parents who are not fluent in English to better follow up with their children and give them necessary assistance.
Please consider our proposal in the spirit it has been sent. We should all appreciate the current national sentiment of support and understanding in these unprecedented circumstances.