Thursday, March 6, 2008

GIIS Fee Hike Announcement

[This is a HOT TOPIC! To VIEW ALL 30+ comments, be sure to click HERE FIRST].

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: kaustubh@sg.globalindianschool.org
Atul Temurnikar: atul@sg.globalindianschool.org
(Thanks to anonymous commentator for email IDs, we had posted @giismalaysia.org IDs earlier).
Please read Instructions on how to send any page from this blog as email

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.
Message :

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
Kaustubh Bodhankar
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

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

KB and AT should be blown out of water for coming up with such foolish reasoning for fee hikes. Funniest part is the subsidies KB is talking about for the needy students. Ha Ha grow up KB none of the Parents will buy up to your ideas and reasoning. The Singapore Govt is coming up with the ruling soon for the Private schools to be transparent with their accountng system just like the hospitals. The very first audit should blow out AT and KB out of water for cheating parents of their money and not being transparent with their a/c system.

is it fake? said...

Reg. giiscomplaint group, Found it by googling = giiscomplaint google group but has only 1 starter member !!!
Is it a genuine group... or is it a fake group
by GIF mygiis IT chelas ? How to know....?!

GodParent said...

Dear Bala,

The recent announcement by MoE will come into effetc only late this year or early 2009. Please do suggest whether we all parents should go together on a paticiular date and protest in Queens Town against the fee hike.

This topic seems to gain heat but not for long once everyone resigns to the fact that there is no other option or busy in preparing for summer vacation.

Can you organize such a gathering so that we can all lodge our protest officially and demand a hearing from the management of GIIS?

Pl suggest urgently to all the subscribers.

K Bala said...

Dear GodParent,

You are right.

To have a meeting with the school: it is better to propose say 10 or 15 parents, a small group. We may need 1 or 2 impartial mediators. We must get time slot from school management. During working days it is tough to find common schedule for all. To those interested: please join as subscribers first (if not already so) so that we can work out the logistics.

Meanwhile majority suggestion was to get many parents to send the blog page to GIIS authorities as a form of protest. Please do this and invite more parents to join too.

PS. You do not need to wait for any existing blogging parent to take initiative.

unhappy parent said...

I have sent mail of this blog page with covering as below to Mr Bodhankar & separate as cc to QT PSG & QT principal. Director & Principal and PSG kindly do the needful.
-----
TO: Mr Bodhankar Director GIIS Singapore
Dear Sir
Please withdraw the rise of fees or delay to 2009. Sir, this will affect severly our budget. Please consider for all parents not only low income.
------
I request all parents not coming in low income bracket to send similar mails.

Anonymous said...

Can we setup an appointment for this saturday (15/03)and meet up at QT branch at allocated time (around 11 - 12 AM).
Please pass this to all parents.

GodParent said...

I am fine with this and shall pass it on to as many parents as I can.

Anonymous said...

We are atleast 4 parents are ready to come down to QT branch on 15/03 (Saturday).

GIISComplaint group is not a fake group. I was the one who created it. Please post your comments to GIIScomplaint group.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You can send your contact details to raatdinraat@gmail.com,
we are 4 parents are ready to come down to QT branch.
Please ask other parents to join our gathering on 15/03.

Many Thanks,

Anonymous said...

maximum no.of GIIs parents are of middle class.25% hike in fees is going to hit them severely.So many are thinking of withdrawing their children and putting them in local school.I am also one of the parent and the only reason I am sending to GIIS is for Indian environment.

gandhigiri ? said...

Here is one suggestion. Send a flower with your child & ask them to drop it off in front of the Gandhi statue (on a particular day) as a symbol of protest !

Anonymous said...

Kaustubh's email address is -
kaustubh@sg.globalindianschool.org

Please send your grievance to him.

Thanks, A Parent.

Anonymous said...

lol the subject line selected by K.Bhodankar seems be a modified replica asiaone news article on Varsity fees hike. I fail to understand when the varsities are increasing their fees in the range of 4 to 20% why only one international decides to increase its fees by 25% and transportation fees by 35%. As per one insider in TnG the school pays only 110 dollars per students and have promised to pay them another 10 dollars after the transport fees revision for Zone2. The insider is willing to disclose all the a/c transactions from the school for the last 1 year on condition of anonimity. Is the school is planning to pocket additional 50 dollars per student from the new transport hike.. This is not fair A.Termunikar should explain to the needy parents why he is planning to suck more money from them.

Anonymous said...

lol the subject line selected by K.Bhodankar seems be a modified replica asiaone news article on Varsity fees hike http://www.asiaone.com/News/Education/Story/A1Story20080218-50187.html. I fail to understand when the varsities are increasing their fees in the range of 4 to 20% why only one international decides to increase its fees by 25% and transportation fees by 35%. As per one insider in TnG the school pays only 110 dollars per students and have promised to pay them another 10 dollars after the transport fees revision for Zone2. The insider is willing to disclose all the a/c transactions from the school for the last 1 year on condition of anonimity. Is the school is planning to pocket additional 50 dollars per student from the new transport hike.. This is not fair A.Termunikar should explain to the needy parents why he is planning to suck more money from them.

need proof said...

Re: AT shortchanging both TnG and parents (comment posted above)

please arrange scan of documents and upload to any good free hosting site ex: http://imageshack.us/ and please post the URL, so that we have it in black and white for all to study it...

Anonymous said...

this is TnG's official website...those interested to know the price for transport charged by them can request for a quote...

http://tngbus.com/contact.html

Our Contact
Clementi Central Post Office
P.O. Box 65 Singapore 911203
Tel : (65) 6777 8811
Fax : (65) 6779 1616
Email : enquiry@tngbus.com

Quote/Enquiry

http://tngbus.com/enquiry.html

School bus application form

http://tngbus.com/Applicationl%20Form%202005.pdf

Anonymous said...

impt. updates from inside =
HOT NEWS

meeting is scheduled KB with 5 parents at 10 am tomorow friday at QT school. KB to make them believe, last try may b offer case by case discount friday 1st come 1st serve. but dont fall for it

saturday so far no meeting confirm, KB may not be avail so call soon to schedule

QT has waiting list so angry parents cannot say want to take kid out of QT, u will b agreed to leave cos ther is waiting list. b careful what u say

alert said...

Friends,

This is with reference to the previous comment about the possibility of Mr.Kaustubh doing some trade-off with a few. Be very very alert and do not succumb,please. While anyone getting a concession is welcome, it should be a case of the first few "less deserving" getting aid at the cost of some of our own brothers who may be "more deserving". In fact, very often, the ones who have just manage to pay the fee are the ones who work long hours at work site - tier II jobs at construction, IT, refinery- and hence have little time for anything else, even for miling/blogging or joining complaint groups. Ideally, our approach should be that the fee hike is totally unjustified and that all of us come under the ' most deserving' category. The aim should be a TOTAL ROLL BACK OF FEE HIKE.Do not accept any decision in small groups, record all your meetings and stand firm. Accpetance of hike is, remember, a long term committment which will be very difficult for each one of us. And we are dealing with a caucus which ,of late, has shown itself to be quite nasty with dissenters.

ParentsGroup said...

Dear All Parents,

could you please send your email address at raatdinraat@gmail.com
so atleast I can arrange the meeting with KB on saturday.

I have already 5 parents ready to join the meeting.

We can put forward an united front to further our grievance.

Please join us.

Thanks.

RS said...

The school transport fee hike is unjustified as I am paying $120 for my second child who goes to a school near Katong, further away from Siglap. The school bus hiked $10 this year due to increased GST and other charges. I was paying $110 the whole of last year. In case of GIIS they increased the fees last year and again by $30 this year. Is there any benchmark of the industry? How do they justify when the other news articles on web (particularly) the Straits Times mentions that the fee hike is around $10?

What is the basis for the school fee hike?

I suggest school should organise an open house for the parents to raise their voice and get further clarification. With the increasing number of students and taking economy of scale into account, there is no basis for the increase in the transport and school fee.

We should take it to the higher authorities i.e. MOE, school bus transport authorities etc etc. Any user proposing to write to TODAY forums to invite more parents to this web site. The reason being school authorities are not responding back to our emails.

homo neutralis said...

As one would expect, the fee hike and related issues have evoked more responses and more intense discussion. I have nothing against this. My clear and firm opinion is " this fee hike is uncalled for, unjust and has to be opposed at all costs ".No two opinions on that. In fact, I am one of those who would say that instead of us paying, Atul & co should pay us, rather redistribute the profits with us as long time stakeholders! But my grievance is this. This blog has been championing a lot of other causes- examinations, teacher quality, transparency, class strength etc., .All these did not get proper or adequate responses. We should have protested or at least voiced our dissent againt a) Harmony extravaganza b)poor pay to teachers, c) selective hike to those who got a job elsewhere to prevent them, thus exhibiting inequal treatment,d) the sudden change of name of school so many times and more importantly the withdrawal of Bhavan's name and e)the e-mails against individuals who have served the school faithfully.

So, should we get together only for safeguarding our money? Should we not bother about how the institution should be run, what values it should stand by? It is OK. At least now we have a cause that seems to have united us. A second fee hike within three years! We will work together to show our collective strength.

I have a few ideas:
1. Write not just to TODAY, but make a good,lengthy petition addressing the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner of India. They will not interfere,uninvited.Nor are they totally unanswerable. The school, I understand, has to depend on the High Commission for various statutory issues including CBSE affiliation. This may be the biggest chance that we have. We need 500 plus signatures of real parents

RS said...

The new invoice , scheduled to be paid on 08th April, already has the new fee structure taken into account.

The transport fee is charged as $652.00 + $45.64 (GST) = $697.64 i.e. $174.41 per month. So, don't presume its applicable end of the year or next year.

Anonymous said...

Even our Ex-President Dr.Abdul Kalam had concerns that the fees are high at GIIS and around 10% of the parents should be having problems with the high cost of fees. Mr.AT heartily agreed that the school will take care of the needy students and look at what garbage plan Mr.AT has smartly asked KB to come with the subsidy plan for only one quarter for the needy students and that too case by case basis.

I am writing to Dr.Abdul Kalam and the high commissioner of India and if nothing is done I will sue Mr.AT and Mr.KB taking them to the court of law.

http://www.giissingapore.org/news/school_newsletter/n116.htm

While parting, he (Dr.Abdul Kalam)said, “At least 10% students should be those whose parents cannot afford the pay the fees. For such students, the school and community must do something and help them study in this school.” Chairman confirmed that the school and community would certainly work on this suggestion.

crystal ball said...

When fees are collected for one purpose and spent for another purpose, it is at the very least unethical. Unethical institutions may stand around for a while, but will ultimately fall apart due to laws of nature.

Here is a school (or schools) funding a Foundation ! And the Foundation, having been funded thus, just needs to spend most of these funds to be called a non-profit ! If it is not perversion, what is ?

You and I, NRIs and others, are funding and feeding this ever greedy Foundation. Yet you and I have no say, no voice, and are never consulted even on matters that affect us. The reason ? You and I are expendable, and there are others waiting in line to take your place. The principals and teachers, even patrons populating the presidium, are all expendable.

A brilliant scheme, but its time is running out.

Aid, what aid? said...

In the tumult of all this,most parents ,perhaps, forgot to notice something very funny and mischievous and it is this: The subject title of the mail received from Kaustubh is "Fee Revision: More students to qualify for Aid". This mail was to announce the hike,right? What is this nonsense about ' more to qualify for aid?'. GIIS never had any fee assistance programme. During the time of last revision, namely first quarter of 2005-06 ) April -June 2005, a handful of parents were given assistance just to match the then component of increase, just to shut mouths.I was a beneficiary.It was for just one quarter. What does Kaustubh mean by more aid? Is there no limit to the lies that these guys can utter? Is there none to question them? Shame on you, patrons of the presidium! Shame on you - all 20 odd advisors! If you can't advise or question, you become accomplices.

K Bala said...

Can somebody please work on compiling a list of eminent people who disappeared from the list of advisors / patrons without announcement ? The kinds of people who walk away due to reasons of integrity and probity are the kinds of people who will be sympathetic to the situation parents are now in. We need help from all good people and divine forces too.

Big names, bigger lies said...

Not many Mr.Bala. People,however eminent they are, cling on for the odd business class flights,stay in 5 or 7 star comfort, some goodies from Mustafa ( if it is an Indian celebrity) front row seats at big shows etc., There are others who perhaps may not even have seen the school but have accepted. There are however some names that were there earlier but missing now and they are.
1. One Mr.S M Joshi fromNagpur ,principal of some school there who was listed as an advisor during early stages but missing from the list for a long long time.
2.Mr.Vijay Bhatkar - Param super computer fame aho was once listed as an advisor,
3. Mr. Boon Yoong Chiang the Chairman/Managing Director of Jardine Matheson ( Singapore) Ltd and Deputy Chairman of Cycle & Carriage Limited whose name was listed as one of the board of governors ( http://www.giissingapore.org
/news/school_newsletter/n76.htm) but not heard of since.

It would be wrong to presume that these people quit. I am sure that their names were added when it was convenient and dropped when it was not. As one of the earlier commentators said, they are expendable.

buswhacked said...

Bus fee hike of $10 per month is the singapore norm which many parents would have blindly accepted without thinking. The lords of GIF would have got away with doing just that. Easily. A 5% fee hike would have also been accepted by most who aren't looking very closely at the most unkindest cuts that have been happening (eg. dropping Julia Gabriel, making teacher count go up by enlisting hordes of relief teachers who will be paid lower, other similar money making schemes)

But the proposal had to be more ambitious. You pay $28 more for the bus, and the split is $10 for TnG and $18 for school. Cool.

This, when bus is already doing good business (fun intended) without the extra $18 !

Now let us look at the book business.
In comparison, the book business doesn't make any significant profit for the school ! Yes, true ! Surprised ? I was too... but more on this later.

dbm said...

if earlier comment on $18 profit pm is correct, that's a cool 18*12*3000 >600K per annum profit for the school. that will easily fund a few business class trips & * hotel stays for the 'presidiums'.

Let each one of us spread the word about the poll to 5 friends & muster enough support asap.

re:dbm said...

dbm, 600K is the extra profit ! That is on top of the bus profit already ringing in. Clever, huh ?

Now tell me, would you not gladly approve a rating of '1' with a 60% pay rise for smart executives who think up such neat schemes ? There you go ! You have competently justified the 60% salary increases. Good, good. You are making progress, I say !

And, paying is so easy and effortless... that you'll never know that you paid, let alone how much ! It just goes direct from your bank at the right time, without your lifting a finger. Cool, huh, this technology stuff ? By the way, talking of all that, don't waste your precious time on blogs and fake websites. Why bother when you are living it up, right ? Come on, lets catch whats on ZeeTV...

buswhacked said...

I just read Mathematician's comment and among other things, I stand re-educated on the T&G model. If T&G is paid per vehicle (based on vehicle type of course) then that explains why complaints about buses being routed all over the place until packed to full capacity, are usually left unaddressed for really long. Full packing is what will maximize profit from transport. Suddenly everything makes a lot more sense.

One thing is certain: We definitely must applaud the business acumen of the GIF overlords ! In that department, they score a 10/10.

Anonymous said...

So all said & done, our pockets are going to be made much lighter this week?
Somehow I feel that ultimately if we are not able to oppose this fees hike, our children are going to face the pressure percolating down from us ---"We are paying so much & you......".
A sad state indeed!

Tejan said...

Perfectly justified -

i. The inordinate rise in oil prices
ii. The inordinate hike in house rentals (during the last year)
iii. The steep hike in prices of commodities
iv. The hike in the prices of transportation
v. The inordinate fuel surcharge which airlines impose at will.

The only price rise in this world that is not justified -

i. The inordinate hike in GIIS fees!

Tejan or Trojan ?? said...

Perfectly Justified :-
1. Teachers not getting not even a dollar as increment from Sept 2002 to March 2007
2.selling NCERT & CBSE books to GIIS children at 5 to 6 times the price in India
3.Atul, his brother(s) and his extended family giving themselves huge bonuses, cars, mobiles, freetrips around the world,yearly hikes of 50% or more
4.Change the name of the school and the foundation and the trust every year/season
5.Appoint every Indian celebrity who de-planes at Changi as a advisor,ply them with gifts, 5 Star lunch and stay at the cost of fee paying parents
6.Compel an already hurt and mauled Gandhi to sit and watch all these at every campus of GIIS
7.Spend all profits on ZEE TV ads, Harmony shows and travel

Not justified :

8. Asking questions; seeking answerablility and transparency; seeking quality and better education for children!

Tejan said...

Actions Taken

GIIS (2008): Hike Fees
Parents (2008): Asking questions; seeking answerablility and transparency; seeking quality and better education for children!

GIIS (2010): Hike fees
Parents (2010): Asking questions; seeking answerablility and transparency; seeking quality and better education for children!

GIIS (2012): Hike fees
Parents (2012): Asking questions; seeking answerablility and transparency; seeking quality and better education for children!

.....
.....
.....
.....

bus-hike-warning said...

In NEWS: "SINGAPORE'S competition watchdog is against a recent proposal by school bus operators to charge parents more to cover rising diesel prices." (1.08.2008 St.Times)

Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has warned bus operators who wanted to raise transport fees by $10 per month flat.

It says "A check with school bus operators on Friday found that most had not raised their fares, mostly out of fear that schools or parents will complain."

In light of this, my questions are as follows. 1. GIIS school raised the bus fee in the past, is it justified ? 2. At that time, did T&G raise their fees or not ? 3. Did GIIS bus profit increase, decrease, or remain same after the bus fee raise ?

(To GIF people: Since amount of healthy bus profit is already revealed in expose of 2005 audited account don't give us the same old BS that bus is not for profit)