The food for students at an international preschool in Hanoi has come under fire as parents found the lunch meals unacceptable in both quantity and quality.
Nguyen Thi Huyen, the mother of a five-year-old girl who is studying at a branch of American Montessori International School (AMIS) on Tran Huu Duc Street in Nam Tu Liem District, started the fire by writing a post on Facebook criticizing the school’s lunches.
She sent her daughter to the school last July and pays VND12 million (US$512) per month for tuition, fees and meals.
At first, her daughter was satisfied with the food at school but lately she has been complaining that she is still hungry as the food at school is not enough for her. Meanwhile, the food expense has increased from VND65,000 to VND70,000 per day since last October.
Lunch portions served at a branch of American Montessori International School (AMIS) on Tran Huu Duc Street in Nam Tu Liem District. Photo by Nguyen Thi Huyen
By Tuesday morning, her post had received 8,700 reactions, and many parents who also send children to the American Montessori International School in Hanoi agreed with her, saying that the food served at the school is substandard despite the high fees.
Huyen said she and other parents met with the school’s representatives four times after the Lunar New Year holiday (the last week of January) as it is not just the food quality that makes parents disappointed but the quality of teachers as well.
Parents have claimed that several teachers recruited by the school, including both Vietnamese and foreign ones, do not have Montessori certificates.
Fruits served to children at a branch of American Montessori International School (AMIS) on Tran Huu Duc Street in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi. Photo by Nguyen Thi Huyen
On Monday morning, the school sent a text to all parents to apologize, saying that they take full responsibility for the low quality of the food.
Do Tuan Trung, a manager at the AMIS chain, said children are offered breakfast and lunch aside from snacks, such as bread, dumplings, yogurt, and milk and fruit.
He said the fruit is cut into small pieces to ensure safety for the children. He added that if one kid has finished eating what is given in a portion, he or she can always ask for more.
Regarding the teacher quality, he said the school only has one Vietnamese teacher that has yet to receive a certificate and currently works as an intern.
“As Hanoi is short of preschool teachers, the school must use the intern as a temporary option,” he said.
The AMIS chain started operation in 2015 with seven schools, six in Hanoi and one in the city’s neighboring Vinh Phuc Province. Each branch in Hanoi has around 100 students.
On its website, AMIS says it receives children aged from 1.5 to seven years of age and that the chain runs an “authentic Montessori school accredited with the American Montessori Society.”
Montessori is an education philosophy and practice that fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents.
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