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“In a word, awesome. I honestly don't know what I would do if this website didn't exist. A wealth of information that is unparalleled to anything I have seen in many other Asian cities. Downsides? Somewhat strict and counter-intuitive rules regarding posting questions. That and a pool of smug user...”
An absolute disaster that is worse than you could ever imagine. For more information read the discussion thread in the forums.
The things that have happened here probably mean the school is going to end up being sold or closed by the Government very shortly. I Feel compelled to write in case it stops even one person from enrolling. Most qualified teachers have quit.
There is no curriculum, almost all the qualified teachers have quit and the board fired one of Vietnam's most respected people in the Education field, as the necessary reforms he outlined would have cost too much money.
The activity of the school is absolutely criminal. Let me just stress again, that there is **no curriculum**. I find it hard to comprehend that such a large project could get this far before the alarm bells started ringing.
Poor students who have stuck with things have lost a year of their lives. A complete house of cards that is going to come crashing down in spectacular fashion soon. If you don't believe me, ask anybody who has sent their kids there or who has taught there. Please investigate the rumors before sending your kid here. What I've mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg
I left the school a while ago after a contract of close to two years. Whilst I agree with some of the comments from previous reviews, I feel obliged to illustrate some of the positives of the school.
Teachers - Most of the teachers coming through now are PGCE qualified and work really hard with the kids inside and outside, (unpaid), of school. A lot of parents meetings are required in addition to the running of lunchtime clubs. Every teacher who is there works hard to fulfil personal aspirations as opposed to purely working for a $2000+ monthly incentive which they could easily exceed somewhere else.
Management - Nobody gets it right all the time. The management here are better than any other centre I worked with in Hanoi. They have their demands from parents which gets filtered down. However, if you put in the effort, they'll give you 100% of their support.
Fees - The fees have recently increased to slightly above $6000. Parents expectations go up and some really struggle to afford this. This puts more pressure on teachers and can result in stressful dealings with parents who have unrealistic expectations, (students in lower streams expecting A-grades). There is an accountability requirement but good teachers will collate work to support their decisions and judgement. Management will back those teachers. Fees are still considerably cheaper than the competitors which can reach $20,000+.
TA's - Some are better than others. Personally, my main TA was fantastic. The school would benefit from a bit of a shuffle but every large organisation has this problem. It's impossible to establish a content and competent work force on this scale. Salary is low for TA's and when they've finished further education or obtained suitable experience, the good ones look to move on.
Resources - Every teacher is given a laptop and projector. Sometimes the projector fails to work and it's up to the teacher to report the issue and chase it up. The process can be slow but if a teacher is diplomatic and makes enough noise, it'll get resolved. Teachers are given an outline of what is expected and are encouraged to be creative in their lessons. Internet and IT in the classroom helps implement this.
This review is based on my own past experiences with the school. The rating is a reflection of my own experiences compared with other establishments in Hanoi not the world.
Going by past reviews, I can honestly say that HA is not as terrible as some people experienced before. Big changes have been made.
That said, the Vietnamese teachers are not of a standard (in some cases) that I would expect even at the worst language centres -- the kids know more English than they do. Many are also very lazy and in no way can be described as Teaching Assistants.
Some departments have virtually no materials, text books or resources to work with. Printers/photocopiers/computers are all useless and never seem to work.
Sure, you might clear $2000 a month after tax as a starting salary for a 40 hr week, but is it worth it? Definitely not.
I can see what they're trying to do at HA. To do it though, they should begin by sacking all their Vietnamese teachers who can't speak English. It is an International Bilingual School after all.
Some time on I'm pleased to report that this school has progressed in leaps and bounds. Audited by Education Queensland (Qld curriculum is taught) they received high praise for the improvements that have come about. HA has a dedicated, qualified teaching staff. The student population is about 98% Vietnamese and they study both the Vietnamese and Queensland curriculums until year ten.
The GAC and Vietnamese curriculums are taught from year ten to twelve.
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