Thursday, January 27, 2011
'I lost a lot of money when the school closed'
Two Vietnamese students' studies at a private school were suddenly cut short when it folded.
[Above: Miss To Thi Nhi Ha (left), and Ms Susan Trinh]
STUDENTS planning to study in private educational institutions should be careful about the schools they choose to avoid what happened to Ms Susan Trinh, 28, and Miss To Thi Nhi Ha, 22.
The Vietnamese nationals were studying at the School of Applied Studies (SAS), but their studies were cut short when the school shut in October.
» Private school closes suddenly
Miss To, who came to Singapore in January, had planned to study for a Specialist Diploma in Tourism & Hospitality and then a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Tourism.
The diploma was awarded by SAS and the degree by IUKB in Switzerland, but Miss To had not even completed her diploma course before the school closed.
She said: "Susan and I had no idea the school would close. I paid the full fees of over $30,000 in advance because I learnt that SAS was covered by CaseTrust and I thought my school fees would be protected.
"I also paid for insurance, but the insurance will pay out only about $7,000. I do not know what will happen to the rest of my money.
"My parents and elder brother saved money for many years to help me pay for the course."
Ms Trinh, who owns a fashion business in Ho Chi Minh City, previously studied in East Asia Institute of Management in 2005, but returned to Singapore in November 2008 to pursue an SAS Specialist Diploma in Business Administration programme.
She finished the course but had yet to graduate before SAS folded.
"I went to Singapore because it is a good place to learn about fashion and business. I also chose Singapore because it is near to Vietnam, is cheaper to study than in Europe and is also a good place for private education.
"I paid nearly $12,000 for my course, but I do not know whether I can get it back," she said.
Help from CPE
Fortunately for both women, the CPE stepped in to help them soon after SAS shut.
"The CPE representatives went to SAS to meet all the students before the school closed. They briefed us on the options available and helped to transfer us to other schools," said Miss To, whose parents are retired and brother is the sole breadwinner.
She is awaiting news on whether East Asia Institute of Management (EASB) will accept her for its Tourism & Hospitality Management course.
Ms Trinh began studying for her Advanced Diploma in Business Administration programme at Kaplan Singapore on Dec 15.
"I chose Kaplan because it is near my home and is a big and well-established school. When my family learnt about the SAS closing, some of them advised me to return to Vietnam, but I decided to stay on and finish my studies in Singapore," she said.
Miss To said tearfully: "I chose EASB as it has a course in Tourism & Hospitality Management. So far, only my brother knows about the SAS closure.
"I did not tell my parents as my dad is ill and I do not think he can take it."
While both women are grateful for the help they received from the CPE, Miss To felt more can be done to help them get their money back.
"Many Vietnamese students want to study in Singapore, but they are afraid to do so when they read about the public schools that have closed.''
Arul John | The New Paper | Tue Jan 25 2011