Foreign language centers cry wine and sell vinegar
Students at MST English Center
English centers promise to provide ‘prime-quality’ English training courses with native speaking teachers. Students are told that they can repeat classes for free if they fail the exams. Some centers even promise to give ‘lifetime training’ if students cannot pass the tests.
However, the truth is otherwise.
Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, a fourth-year journalism majoring student, registered to attend a VIP training course at an English center in Cau Giay district which cost VND7 million. The center said students would improve their English communication skills after 3-6 months.
She decided to choose a center which requires high tuition because she believes ‘you get what you pay for’. As English centers are varied in quality, she didn’t have confidence in the training classes which require low tuition.
However, Mai said the majority of the students could not communicate well after the training course. “I regret my decision. VND7 million is really a big amount of money,” she said.
None of the learners could repeat the class for free as promised. “You are eligible for retraining only if you were not absent from any lesson and you must observe all the rules," Mai explained.
More foreign language centers are opening because of increasingly high demand. The quality of the centers, which can yield high profits, has been difficult to control.
Meanwhile, attending all lessons proved was an impossible mission for her and others.
Nguyen Thi Mai Phuong in Dong Da district decided to enroll her son, a third grader, in an English class in Hai Ba Trung district, which required tuition of VND250,000 for 1.5 hours.
However, just one week later, she told the boy to give up the class. “FIfty students pushed one another in a small room, just 30 square meters large,” she explained. “As my son was late, he had no table and had to sit on the stairs to the second floor”.
“There was no air conditioner. There was only one deafening fan. It was terribly hot,” she complained.
After the story about the teacher at MST, an English center, the school belittled a student with rude words appearing in local newspapers. People questioned the ethics and training quality of foreign language centers.
After the incident happened, it was found that the school did not have operation license, raising questions about the role of the Hanoi Education & Training Center as the watchdog agency.
“I could not understand why such an unlicensed training center could exist in front of watchdog agency,” wrote Mai Lan, a parent on an education forum.
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