Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Froebel Academy in trouble

Students demand certificates from Froebel AcademyBy Satish Cheney, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 05 June 2007 2214 hrs

SINGAPORE: It was a scene of confusion and frustration at a private school on Tuesday afternoon. Students of Froebel Academy gathered at the school in Parkmall at Penang Road, demanding their certificates. Apparently, many have yet to receive their certificates despite graduating six months ago.

The following students did not want to give their names to Channel NewsAsia but agreed to be interviewed. "I just want to upgrade myself, so I pay the money to make myself better. I work very hard to make to make the money right? Now the money I cannot get back and now I cannot get the cert. It has made us very sad," says one angry student. "Now the issue is that as a person who pays for anything I have the right to know what is happening," says a relative of one student.

There was also silence also from the school's elusive principal, who told Channel NewsAsia she was too busy to field questions. However the students stood their ground, leaving the sole school administrator no choice but to arrange a hurried meeting which was closed to the media.

After the meeting, the students were told they would receive their certificates on Friday. Some students are also unhappy they are not going to get a stamp from the East China Normal University. They claim the school told them their certificates would have a stamp if they paid S$7,500. But the school is denying this. Students say without this stamp, their certificate will be useless when they look for jobs in China. "$7,500…but now she says only this school’s chop…it's no use for us and she says that she wants to close after this year so we have no use for the certificate," says a student.

And students were not the only ones affected. One teacher claims the school owes her S$20,000 in unpaid wages. A school administrator told reporters that some of the ex-staff members had absconded with the school's funds recently but refused to give any other details. Some of the courses offered by Froebel Academy are accredited by the Ministry of Education and the Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry. The school has also received its CASE TRUST status. - CNA/yy

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