Friday, October 28, 2016
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Calls for regulation of private education sector

International School of Myanmar has backed away from plans to raise school fees by up to 35 percent for 2013-14, as parents called on the government to regulate the sector.

Parents of students at the International School of Myanmar leave a meeting with school officials on May 16. (Boothee/The Myanmar Times)Parents of students at the International School of Myanmar leave a meeting with school officials on May 16. (Boothee/The Myanmar Times)

School officials met parents on May 16 to announce they would reduce the size of the planned increase by 18-30pc, depending on the grade level.

ISM director Thomas Egerton said the school believed parents were satisfied with the new fees and was confident that most students would continue at the school in 2013-14.

He said the issue had shown that the school needs to improve its communication with parents but maintained that the increases were necessary.

“We need to increase fees because of rising salaries and increased housing costs for foreign teachers and administrative staff. Every year we increase foreign teacher’s salaries by 5pc,” Mr Egerton told The Myanmar Times on May 16.

It was the second fee cut the school had offered parents, after reducing 2013-14 fees by US$500 the previous week in the face of strong opposition.

The latest reduction came after parents sent a letter to the government on May 12 urging them to regulate private schools, create a school administration committee and resolve the “problem” of rising tuition fees at international schools.

“We think in the future this may become more of a problem. … The government doesn’t recognise international schools and this causes trouble for parents,” said Ko Zaw Min, whose children are enrolled at ISM.

“Most parents are satisfied with the school’s adjustment but some parents said they are planning to move their children to another school. Regardless of the reduction, we are urging the government to better regulate private schools,” he said.

But the director general of the Ministry for Education’s Department of Education Planning and Training, U Ko Ko Hlaing, told The Myanmar Times that while the government was very concerned about problems related to international schools it could not intervene because it does not recognise them.

He said most internationals schools are registered as private companies because of the lack of relevant legislation. However, he said the government plans to enact a law to regulate the schools.

“Parents should think very carefully before they choose to send their children to an international school because at the moment we can’t help them if there is a problem,” he said.

ISM announced on May 7 that it would increase fees in 2013-14 by 31-34pc depending on the grade level. The announcement prompted more than 50 parents to protest outside the school the same day.

The increase would have seen fees for some secondary classes hit $12,000, up from $8918 last year, according to figures provided by parents.