Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by caller » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:22 am

Frank Hovis wrote:I don't know whether the business is making a profit or not. I certainly hope they are making a profit because a loss making business will not be investing in improving the school and if it is losing money and continues to do so it may not continue as a viable entity at all. That would leave parents with an even smaller choice of English speaking schools in the region and less competition between them which I doubt would benefit any of our children.
That did rather strike me as the obvious conclusion of this situation. So, the place is struggling to attract sufficent kids from whatever background and it closes.

I assume those with sufficient funds will then be happy to send their kids to a school that was not initially their first choice, presumably as they have already deemed others as failing to provide the standard of education for their kids they aspire to?

Which means they will then be faced with the same dilemma already faced by the struggling parents, accept a 'lower' standard, move to somewhere like Bkk, return home or put up and shut up?

Whatever the decision, I hope the kids grow up with a more humane attitude towards others, than of that demonstrated by some of the posts here.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by ex-STW-teacher » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:29 am

I hope I can shed a little light here, as an ex-Somtawin teacher (I had an account on here but can't remember what the password was I've not used it in ages). I'm presently in the UK working on getting myself fully qualified to be a better teacher, having learned a great deal in my time at Somtawin, and hopefully helped my students learn too.

If I may, I'd like to just offer my own opinions on this, which are solely my own and do not reflect the position of anyone else other than myself! In other words, I'm not representing anyone but me. I'm not here to pick any fights, so please don't interpret it as such, rather here to inform and perhaps offer some insight into what's going on.

The first thing is that education in Thailand is, on the whole, not very good. Having seen what goes on in Thai schools there's no way I'd send my kids to one. I'd also say that it's far from perfect in the UK (I've just been invigilating mock GCSE exams and the papers were an embarassment, STW 4th graders could pass the foundation maths).

If you are in Thailand and have kids, sending them to a state school will do nothing for them. They'll be in a class of 50 learning by rote. If they're farang they'll have a real problem because if they leave Thailand they're stuffed. If they're Thai then you're denying them the opportunities they deserve, as their richer colleagues at nicer schools WILL learn more and earn more.

This means that the only options left are private schools. This is not ideal. I know it, you know it. The frustrations of education as a business drove me fairly mental on many occasions. However, Thailand is a weak state with a fairly poor government lacking sufficient tax-raising powers to develop a proper education system, along with various other infrastructural failings which I'm sure we're all aware of but should leave for another post.

To be perfectly blunt, Somtawin ran at a loss for all the time I was there (3 years). It never made a profit. Not a penny. The owners subsidised it heavily in the hope that one day it would be able to make a profit, I think with the long-term idea of Bangkokians sending their kids boarding to Hua Hin. Continuing on that trajectory there will at some point be no school. In that regard, the school making a loss is a problem for EVERY parent at Somtawin.

Regarding that loss, a fair amount of the problem is due to parents not paying fees. A few times staff weren't paid, and then the money had to come from the pockets of the investors directly, so as to keep things going. Another reason is that STW has an unusual number of foreign teachers (I remember when I mentioned the numbers at a job interview for a school in Bangkok, which I turned down, the interviewer just sat there stunned for a minute or two). This does improve the quality of education you get, as it's hard to find Thai teachers who don't teach by rote, simply because that's all state education does. It also costs a lot, farangs are expensive. The compromise made here is to have better quality teaching staff, by cutting costs with resources, though the person who simplified it to 5 kids paying the salary of 1 teacher has it wrong, one must remember many other things which are needed, such as classroom resources, the building itself, admin, and even just the simple fact that 1 teacher teaching all the classes would quickly burn out, so you need more than that anyway. Break-even point is a lot more than 5 teachers, though I'm not sure the bosses would appreciate me giving out the numbers, so I'll keep that under wraps unless advised otherwise.

Anyway, back to non-fee-paying parents. In short, students being present at the school cost time and money. That is recouped through fees. We have a certain standard cost per grade of course, but one should also remember that some of the costs are variable, in terms of resourcing for lessons, admin, teacher time, etc. If a large chunk of any given class is not paying, that class is running at a loss. Do the maths, too many losses means no school, everyone loses. Additionally, if parents see other parents getting away with not paying don't you think they'll decide not to bother paying too? To an extent, I think this may be STW making a statement to reduce the numbers of people choosing not to pay. They have to do SOMETHING about it, otherwise the school won't exist, which hurts everyone (including those at other local schools due to reduced competition).

That said, judging from what I've seen on here, this has perhaps not been handled perfectly. What we don't know of course is what private conversations the school has had with parents, though I know from experience that some parents just choose to ignore any contact from the school that they find inconvenient so to a degree the school's caught between a rock and a hard place.

Regarding the people suggesting that people should go home if they don't like it, I'd make a qualified agreement with that. For some people, Thailand is the wrong place to bring their kids. One example is the complete lack of provision for students with special needs. We did our best at STW but we weren't equipped or trained to deal with students with SEN, when I compare against what I see here in the UK (where trained Teaching Assistants work with SEN students, providing care and assistance that is just impossible in Thailand). Part of this is of course due to the Thai concept of 'face' and parents not being willing to admit their child has special needs, and part due to lack of knowledge and resources on managing those issues. If your child has special needs that require that level of support you should think seriously about your choice to live in Thailand. This is about responsible parenting, and if you're farang, you've made a conscious decision to come here, and chosen paid education here over the free options back home. It also means that you should have contingency plans in place should you need them. If you think you might not be able to afford to give your children a good future then perhaps you should not come to Thailand until after they have grown up.

Unfortunately I think some parents couldn't go back home due either to financial commitment to being in Thailand, or a desire to hang onto the lifestyle (and it's a hard thing to give up, as I've found out).

Part of my decision to leave Thailand (at least for now) was an increasing realisation that I could not have children in Thailand. I could not afford to give them an education at an equivalent standard to the UK (I should note that I regard STW as being ahead on Maths and Science, behind on some other subjects). Were STW to not exist my options would be even bleaker, with most of the other schools locally not providing enough of their education in English (sorry, the world speaks English and that's what I want my kids to speak) or simply not offering any kind of quality. My other options would be Bangkok prices, which are beyond me. I realised that I cannot bring a family up in Thailand, and made a responsible decision to return to the UK, to increase my earning potential and because it is only here I can provide for my kids properly. Other parents may need to decide what sacrifices they wish to make for their children, that's their choice.

Ultimately having a child is a huge responsibility, and something that requires hard work and sacrifice, and if it means sacrificing the dream of sitting on the beach with a warm beer til they've finished uni then that's the sacrifice we all have to make. See you all in 30 years!

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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by dozer » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:55 am

Norseman wrote:Yea, that's the spirit guys.
If you don't like it here - go home. (Never heard that before).
I.E. if you can't dig up some BIG money somehow, for the best of your children, you'd better leave this country because nobody cares.

I'd say; what a wonderful world.
Good thought but by all means, but let the guys with the money rule the world.
Who cares about education?

Maybe this is why South East Asia will remain poor while the rest of the so-called WESTERN world is going nowhere?

Isn't education one of the human rights?
The answer is no and back to business.

Sounds good!


This talk of education being a human right is totally irrelevant, education is available to all here, and it’s just a matter of what standard and quality you can afford.

It would seem to me to be time for the people here who are not working, but are either here on a marriage visas or retirement visas with a fixed income and are now feeling the pinch due to the global downturn and the strong Baht to do a bit of soul searching.

It is not a question of if you don’t like it leave; it is a question of can you afford to neglect your child’s education.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by E-Dork » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:31 pm

Norseman... No-one said "if ya don't like it go home" muppet.

What was said that if you can't afford to have your children educated here you should go home.

Pretty big difference

You certainly aint no businessman are you if you think that Somtawin could run on 4 kids a class because that's what will cover the teachers salaries. How about the cost of running the school itself?? How about the 40 odd million baht to buy the land for the school. How about you open up "Norsemans Life Education For Free" school and show your genourous caring side.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by Spitfire » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:00 pm

I think Norseman was trying to balance/temper what seems to be a lot of indifferent comments coming here, he is certainly not what that uncalled for comment suggested.

I think some should show some more latitude.

The answer is a stage by stage payment plan which is do-able, if people then screw up then it should go to a school panel to decide, you know, a transparent process. Whether the parents are Thai, foreign or half and half has no bearing IMO, to suggest any differently is simply perpetuating the status quo of discrimination. Children are children and it's not their fault.

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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by E-Dork » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:11 pm

I'm sorry but if you are worrying AT ALL about not being able to put your child through the (decent) education system in Thailand then you shouldn't be here. Quite simple.

I will get quite hot headed on this topic as I see so many farangs out here scraping the barrel, counting the bahts and then popping out kids!! Chavs.

I also see a lot a farangs out here that have left their teenage kids back in England (mainly) to start their new life here with their new kids. Come on hands up.... who has left a kid at home under the age of eighteen. Sorry, No sympathy coming from this direction AT all. Just because the parents have crapped any savings up the wall doesn't respect sympathy.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by Spitfire » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:19 pm

Often with age comes indifference and bitterness.

Edit - Sorry, went too far with this one.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by E-Dork » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:32 pm

I am an old fart but I am certainly not a 'bitter' old fart. I have witnessed bad parenting on so many occasions from farangs in this country and it gets to me. It is also that little 'class' thing that I keep mentioning. Some (a majority) of the farangs here have run away because they've screwed it up back home, meet a lovely Thai lass have another kid then realise they can't afford to take care of it on the pittance they earn.

I'm sorry if the school fees seem like such a small amount to be worrying about to me. I am no rich man, never have been, never will. This is where people must take a damn hard look in the mirror and wonder where everything went so wrong if they can't stump up a few hundred quid every month.

Maybe 'Issan' would be better suited to a few of you.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by JimmyGreaves » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:48 pm

Well Well Well, Said the man with 3 holes in his back garden.

Wish I had all the money in the world to provide the best education for my kids, I don't, so I have to do the best I can. I make as many sacrifices as I can, but there is a balance to be had. Why would you want to send your kids to Yamsaard, it's not the best or nowhere near the best, That's letting them down, why Somtawin that's nowhere near the best also, bet their teachers have not had the best education and taught at the best schools. Bottom line is International Education is no good in Hua Hin. So no more kids all you expats. E-Dork is right on the money, Get the best, if you can't afford it then slit your throat for being a Chav. It's back home to apply at Eaton for me old boy!
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by poosmate » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:55 pm

E-Dork wrote
Some (a majority) of the farangs here have run away because they've screwed it up back home,
Maybe amongst the crowd you socialise with. :wink:

This whole thread was supposed to be about children getting excluded from Somtawin.

Not some rant from someone who has no regard ( or memory probably ) of being young fertile and having responsibility for a growing family whilst trying to build their lives during an unexpected world financial crisis.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by Procyon » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:06 pm

E-Dick was either born with a silver spoon in his mouth or really is living in cloud-cuckoo land - stop having sprogs you expat muppets - you're too poor for the privilege! Victor Bloody Meldrew springs to mind!
meldrew.jpg
I dont belieeeeve it - they're having more bloody children .....
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Thanks to those that have clarified the situation at Somtawin.

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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by Spitfire » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:11 pm

To hell with it, changed my mind from earlier about restraint, how about this............
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by Norseman » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:28 pm

So why do I care debate ANY topic with you EDORK?
If you don't care about other members views rather than your own red hot and
egocentric posts where's the debate?
Stop pretending you have the only answer and be aware of that some parents do have problems with their payments.
Where the heck did you quote me saying that I want something stupid as " Life Education For Free"?
Just as a secret information for you, I have no problems at all with the payments to the private school where my stepson is attending.
My post was intended as an attempt to put some light of the costs and eventually the expenses every school or business are facing.
Lack of income and you are slowly on your way down and out of action.
The problem with the private schools as I see it, is that some of them are too greedy, not willing to listen to the parents or admit that some of their teachers maybe are not fitted to be a teacher.
(One female American teacher smoking yabaa should be expelled as soon as the headmaster was informed by the police, but they let her stay in the job for another 6 months).
Why should the Thai's accept farang prices for education?
Many farang here feel more home in Thailand than overseas or in Europe.
They'd been here maybe a a decade longer than most of you, they speak Thai and they get Thai wages, but have problems when it comes to payments in the 100.000 Baht class.
What's wrong with that and that is what's this thread is about.
Return home is your answer - but home - is here.
Again, I don't have any problems paying the fees, and it's not about me, but about people who are educated in their homeland and want all the best for their own children.
Reduction of overhead and costs for the schools are not debated.
Why not?
How much does it really cost to run a decent school?

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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by hhfarang » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:43 pm

How much does it really cost to run a decent school?
I suspect that that is a lot more than most of you think. I'm with E-Dork on this. If you can't pay, your kids can't go. It's as simple as that. A private school is not a charity, it is a business, and the kids going there whose parents do pay on time should not allow the degradation of the school because some people can't or refuse to pay.

I suggest you investigate to see if the parents who "can't" pay, can still afford to drink alcohol or indulge in other social pleasures. I've seen it too often in this age of "everyone owes me something". People who are not willing to sacrifice for their children's welfare should not have them.

What ever happened to personal responsibility. Imo that is the primary problem in the world today; people do not take responsibility for their actions and just make excuses and want someone else to bail them out when they f**k up.
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Re: Somtawin ejecting kids with late paying parents

Post by dozer » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:46 pm

^
Well said sir.
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