Singapore school vanishes in Vietnam metro

TN News

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A Singapore-owned business school in Ho Chi Minh City, that was in the authorities' sights for offering unauthorized courses, has closed down without notice, prompting them to consider canceling the licenses of two other Singaporean schools also found violating regulations.

The city Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Tuesday revoked the license of Melior Business School soon after it shut.

It had been licensed to offer only short-term courses in tourism and hotel management and business administration, but was found offering undergraduate courses.

The Ministry of Education and Training, which fined the school twice this year, ordered HCMC authorities October 11 to scrap its license.

It also instructed them to pull the plug on Education and Research Center Institute Vietnam and the Singapore Informatics & Business Management Education Ltd., which were also found committing similar violations.

But before they could act, Melior closed over last weekend.

A notice outside its building at 97 Nguyen Van Troi Street, Phu Nhuan District, left many foreign teachers and around 150 students in shock since many of the latter had paid tuition fees of US$10,500 only on Saturday.

The department said it is considering withdrawing the licenses of the two other schools to protect 381 students from a "regretful" situation like at Melior.

It has also called on the city administration to prevent Melior officials from leaving Vietnam, freeze their bank accounts until they agree to refund the fees, and inform the Singapore consulate in the city.

But it might be too little too late. A source told Thanh Nien that the school's general director in Vietnam, Cheng Sim Kok, had left for Singapore and the school's account at Standard Chartered has been emptied.

Some students received an email from Cheng Saturday, which said that students could go to Melior International College in Singapore to finish their undergraduate courses for free, or he could put them in other Singapore institutes but they would have to pay fees.

When Thanh Nien called Patrick Loke, the founder and general director of Melior International College in Singapore, he said he would respond later in an email.

Subsequent calls to him went unanswered.

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