Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pro-Tem Committee Letter to GIIS

The Principal,
Brickfields .

5th May , 2007.

Dear Sir,

Re : Safety and Standards Issues at GIIS.

The matter above is referred. I would like to inform you that we have formed a Pro-temp committee to represent the views of the parents of the students at GIIS as there is no provision for a Parents Teacher Association comprising of elected members.

In our inaugural meeting on Saturday, 5th May , 2007 , the following issues were raised and as such, we seek your co-operation in addressing the remedies to the issues below immediately.

Issues Raised:

a) Student – Teacher ratio : Many parents were promised at the point of registration that the ratio will not exceed 15 – 20 students per teacher. However, many classes have ratios that exceed this. In Std 2 , there are classes with 28 students with one teacher !

In addition to that , the school pride’s itself as a
“Montessori” School. May we ask , why then do the kindergarden classes have a much higher ratio’s when the prescribed Montessori class size should be a maximum of 9 students per teacher?

b) Safety of Children : There are numerous issues here . To name a few :
· The security of the entrance is very weak. There is almost no control of people walking in and out of the school. There are no student/parent identification cards system in place for the security of the students.
· There is only one guard at the compound for the security of all of the school. This is highly inadequate.
· Flooding during rain . Students have fallen in drains due to the inadequacy of the school to properly guide and ensure the safety of the students to their respective vehicles.
· There is no shelter in place for parents to use to pick up their children and to ensure that they safely enter their vehicles.
· Some school busses used to fetch kids are without valid permits. This is illegal and as such, they have no insurances to cover the children.
· Food in the canteen’s is being served in Styrofoam plates ! This is unhealthy and unsafe to the welfare of the children.
· There are dead rats and live snakes spotted in the school compound and it took the school 48 hours to remove the dead rat ! Where are the maintenance personnel?

c) Traffic –
· There are massive “traffic jams” on every day of the schooling calendar to the annoyance of both the residents and parents alike. And yet , there is no uniformed traffic warden that mans the road , diverting traffic , ensuring speedy drop off of children and blocking of “one way street” that is being used by certain people to make a quick entry and exit to the school.
· The school rule of allowing only “licensed” transporters is causing the other school busses to stop on the main road, cutting off the artery of the transportation route for all other users!
· Parents were promised at the point of registration that an adjacent land will be occupied to ensure that school busses park at that location and that a special bridge or system will be placed for the children to use. Is there no such move any longer?

d) Lack of Facilities

· Can you please clarify as to the reasons why the size of the canteen was halved when the number of students had increased ?
· Whys is the Tae Kwon Do class now being held in the open field at the back (to the annoyance of the students as it generates a lot of noise) when there was a class dedicated for this earlier?
· Why are there massive delays in handing the students the books/uniforms? How are the students supposed to conduct their lessons?
· There is a serious lack of club facilities for the well being of the students. There is no field or other sport activities and the transportation of the students to another field is raising security concerns among parents.

e) Credential of Teachers – May we ask that we be notified of the credential of the teachers to ensure that the academic standards are maintained. While most of the teachers are doing very well and are critically dedicated, we are concerned about the qualifications of a few.

f) Non Bahasa Speaking Parents – We have concerns from expatriate families that are very concerned about the fact that there is no support system to ensure that weak students are given the extra coaching that is becoming of every international school. Many foreign kids are lost in class as the standards are high. While this is a good thing, (the high standards) there must be additional help for foreign students.

g) Teacher Absenteeism – May we ask why are there frequent teacher absenteeism and this is made worse by the fact that there is a serious lack of relief system in place to ensure that lessons are continued and that the students are not affected.

h) PTA – May we ask why there are no elected members of a PTA when this could seriously improve the standards and communication in the school.

i) Building Fund Payment/Relationship - Why are parents asked to pay for a building fund? Please clarify.
A matter of great concern is the connection of GIIS to the Bhavan Educational Trust of India. Parents are a little confused as to the seemingly arbitrary connection now as opposed to the connection to the Bhavan Trust at the time of advertising the opening of the school.

j) Extra Tuition Fees – While many parents were told at the inception that this school does not practice a “tuition system” , we are aware of teachers giving out tuition classes and this must stop. This defeats the whole point of being in an internationally acclaimed brand of school.

k) Integrity /Non “Proactive” Management – There are far too many issues to list in this letter but we hope that this letter addresses the major concerns. Parents are commonly told that “ if you are not happy, please take your kids elsewhere” and we find this very unbecoming of a school of this stature. Letters of complaints that were written to the school are not responded to in an orderly and detailed fashion and solutions are rarely communicated or implemented.

We ask that you seriously consider all of the matters raised here and call for a meeting of all parents within 14 days. We request that you communicate this event to all parents within 7 days.

Kindly note that nothing in this letter should be termed as a move by certain quarters to discredit the school. Our children study at the school and as such we are equally concerned about the good name of the school. We are here to help in any way that we can but we expect a very quick resolution to the very basic issues that we view as issues that can be solved very easily by a proactive management.

The parents and their children are here to stay in spite of these issues and the purpose of this letter is to document the common findings amongst parents and to ensure that they are addressed.

Having said that, I must stress that the issues raised have been communicated to the school independently by parents via letters, verbally and e-mails.

As no action has been taken so far to rectify the myriad problems we see, we took the positive step to form a Pro-term committee for the benefit of all students.

While we have no intention of making this a big issue, should we received the common – “we will take a look” response from the school, we will have no choice but to proceed to take the matter a lot further. This is not a step we wish to pursue as we believe that the way around this is to resolve all outstanding issues in an amicable fashion.

As such we would appreciate an immediate response from your goodself.

Thanking you in advance and looking forward to a very real opportunity of working with the school management on a constructive basis in the immediate future.,

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