Parent of students at CIA First International School have expressed frustration with school management for not complying with the tuition discount agreement facilitated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport last year.
The agreement gave students a 20 to 25 per cent discount on tuition for kindergarten and grades 1-12.
Eng Kunthea, a parent with three children studying at CIA First International School online, told The Post on May 19 that the Covid-19 crisis had kept his children from going to in-person classes and that he didn’t expect the situation to improve any time soon.
He said classes over Zoom were better than his children not studying at all but it does add a burden to the parents of the students who are now studying from home.
"Studying at home requires a computer or multiple computers, internet connection and any required class materials like textbooks.
"On top of that we have to spend time supervising our children to make sure they focus on their classes or else they will ignore them and play games instead,” Kunthea said.
Sekut Kola, the mother of two students at the school, told The Post that because of the pandemic her family’s expenses had gone up but their income had gone down.
She said that on April 1 she wrote a letter to the school requesting a reduction in tuition fees along the lines of the agreement the education ministry had made in early 2020.
According to Kola, the school management refused and insisted she pay 100 per cent of her children’s tuition fees. She said that the CIA administrators told her that the ministry’s agreement had expired on the day that they announced that all schools would reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.
"In last year's agreement, the school agreed to a 20-25 per cent discount because students did not attend school full time. They haven’t attended full time this year either and the situation is actually worse. The school should accept our request," she said.
She said that after the school rejected her request, she submitted a letter requesting intervention by the ministry who said that last year's agreement was still valid because of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
"After the ministry replied, we again asked the school’s management to implement the agreement but the school said they spend a lot of money on teachers and advanced equipment to broadcast live to their students online.
“But this explanation doesn’t make much sense, so we decided not to pay for our children's education until we reached new agreement," she said.
Im Phalla, who has two sons enrolled at the school, told The Post that due to Covid-19 he could not earn enough money for his children to continue their education online.
"I have decided to temporarily suspend their studies. I'm not sure if I will be able to send my children to CIA school again if the tuition is so high," he said.
Andre Struve, managing director of CIA First International School, could not be reached for comment on May 19.