I regret the delay in posting the fee hike announcement for discussion.
(The announcement of 1/3/2008 on MYGIIS, from Kaustubh Bodhankar, Country Director GIIS Singapore) Posted by Bala.
[Editors' note: We have not succumbed to fear or pressure (as suspected by a commentator). This blog continues to be a free, independent and responsible forum. We would like to focus on key issues only and this is one. Let us not get distracted by smaller issues like the role of PSG. Besides poor co-operation from GIIS, we face (still) a severe shortage of parents who can write a post. If you can help by copying and pasting important announcements from MYGIIS, or write simple posts, or more, please join and help ! What you need is a Google GMail ID, as it is safe, secure and suitable. (We do not recommend hotmail or yahoo ID's). We need your help ! See HOW TO JOIN. ]
After considering all views, options and available info, the UNANIMOUS POSITION shared by all currently available blogging parents is -
1. We do not agree with the justifications offered in the letter. They do not hold water.
2. We need facts. We need the full facts on the table.
The inflation in Singapore is reported as 4.5 to 5.5% but the 25 to 35% hikes proposed are much higher than that. Salary increases projected in the papers is only 5.9%, but the letter talks about government employees getting "generous bonuses". According to our information, the top executives of GIIS and GIF are paid a handsome salary that they could not earn in the private sector, plus good perks, so further increases are not needed to retain them as "talent", so the comparison with Singapore government salaries is so obviously misleading. Missing fact: what is the cost impact of campus X on campus Y ? Think of the new campus coming up in Vietnam. Is the rental rise in Mumbai factored in ? (India office of GIF is in Maker Chamber, Nariman Point - where posh consular offices are situated and costs have gone up further there. Is that not a factor ?). Are GIF personnel, guests and invitees travelling first class by air (we have no evidence about class of travel, but evidently there is a lot of air travel as things are going global). How much is actually spent on travel, advertisements, PR, TV, press, overseas campaigns and events ? What is being done to control these costs and what costs were reduced ? Is cost being reduced on the most appropriate areas ? How much percentage cost was actually saved by cancelling Julia Gabriel's contract (at the sacrifice of quality) ? How much did the Global Indian Harmony (2007) event cost us ? The letter refers to lease hike by SLA (Singapore Land Authority). What percentage of the total cost is land lease ? Why did GIIS or GIF not request SLA (Singapore Land Authority) to lock in the lease amount for a 10 year period (thanks to commentor 'dbm' for this tip) ? If the cost increases are due to mismanagement, how can we have a better control over it ? Surely, everything cannot be blamed on inflation or the falling US Dollar. What about past 3 years' profits, are they kept as reserves, earning reasonable returns ? or have they been all squandered away ? There are too many questions and too few facts on the table. All thanks to GIIS and GIF being secretive about key financial information which should have been in the annual reports and sent to every parent.
Anybody who has facts relevant to this discussion, please chip in. We will also need help from accounting and financial gurus to analyze the numbers.
We invite GIF/GIIS management to respond to this here.
Parents: Please forward this page to Kaustubh Bodhankar & Atul Temurnikar and invite their response.
Kaustubh Bodhankar: email@example.com
Atul Temurnikar: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Thanks to anonymous commentator for email IDs, we had posted @giismalaysia.org IDs earlier).
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Parents, please suggest other courses of action if you have better ideas on how to deal with this situation.
From : GIIS Announcement
Date : 1/3/2008 [dd/mm/yyyy]
Subject : Fee Revision: More students to qualify for Aid.
The inflation & the increased cost of living in Singapore have even prompted the Singapore Parliament for a debate. The steep increases have been in the areas such as seen in the housing / office / commercial building rents, taxis / school buses, petrol & diesel, food prices and even electricity & water. Salaries and Wages too have gone up as many sectors including the government are dishing out generous bonuses.
How does it affect GIIS?
GIIS school operations too are heavily dependent on above factors. Take for example, steep increases in office/commercial rents has resulted in substantial increases in the lease valuations of our School buildings. As a result of these changed market valuations, Singapore Land Authority, in line with the market increases, has increased our school leases substantially, which is an added cost to the institution.
Wages across the various sectors in Singapore have gone up over the past 3 years and at GIIS the average employee Cost to the School (CTC) has gone up by more than 60% in the past 2 years itself. For every 15 students, a new teacher has to be employed and as a result, across the 3 campuses, our combined teaching resources have risen to over 300 (includes full time & part time teachers). In addition, GIIS has increased the number of expat teachers significantly.
Moreover, labor intensive services such as cleaning, security & nursing agencies have become a lot expensive. Cost of medical Insurance for students, teachers and staff too have increased. The ECA/CCA activities, which are part of the tuition fees, have also seen substantial increase and the same have been absorbed by the school till date.
What is the impact on the School Bus?
Transport services have become more expensive due to increased Diesel costs, shortage of buses and shortage of bus drivers. Diesel costs have risen by more than 50% within the last year itself. There is a major shortage of bus drivers, leading public bus operators such as SBS/SMRT to employ a huge number of bus drivers from China. The driver salaries too have gone up sharply due to this shortage of bus drivers. Wages for Bus attendants too have gone up. There are lesser school buses available as Bus operators are shifting to other schools which are charging up to $300 per month, which is substantially higher than GIIS fees. Increased ERP charges too have contributed to higher operating costs for the school buses.
In the last 6 months, the school bus operators have already increased their charges by over $10 per student which the school has absorbed and has not passed on these additional costs to the parents. Due to the above shortages and the further escalating fuel costs, transport operators will be charging an additional $20 per student (per month) leading to a total cost increase of $ 30 per student (per month).
What has GIIS done to optimize escalating costs?
Over the past year, GIIS has achieved significant costs optimization through a series of measures. All administrative functions such as HR, Finance & Operations have been centralized to reduce administrative expenses. For the other operating services including Security, Cleaning & Transport services, the school is re-negotiating the contracts with the vendors.
What is the 2008-2009 Fees Revision?
The school’s finance committee (FC) has examined all price hikes which have affected GIIS operating costs. The finance committee has recommended an essential increase in the Tuition fees & School Bus fees to accommodate these increased costs.
The Monthly Tuition Fees for various school levels will be revised upwards as follows:
* For Kindergarten (Std. Nursery to K2) - by $78 per month
* For Primary / Middle / High School & Junior College - by $98 per month
* The Monthly School Bus fee (Zone 1 & 2) will be up by $28 per month
Is any Aid available to GIIS students?
To support the needy students, GIIS has setup a special assistance aid. This special assistance aid shall be provided to offset the tuition fee increase for the 1st term of 2008-2009 only. Qualifying GIIS students, whose annual household income is below $50K, will be eligible to apply under this scheme. They should submit their application along with the reasons for grant of this aid to the Principal. Each application will be reviewed on its own merit and the school reserves the right to accept / reject the application.
I hope the above QA format has answered all the queries. If you have any more questions, please feel free to write to the Principal / Fees department.
With warm regards
Country Director – GIIS Singapore
Note: This email is sent on behalf of Director, GIIS. Please do not respond to this account as it is unattended. Thanks IT, GIIS