Vietnam authorities guarantee refund for suspended courses by Singapore-owned school

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Ho Chi Minh City authorities Monday promised to ensure that a Singapore-owned language center which was forced to suspend some unauthorized courses refunds affected students.

Many of the students' parents were worried since the bosses of Raffles International Training Center were about to leave Vietnam without refunding the fees as they had promised.

They had assured in January that they would return the fees by March 19 to students enrolled for its bachelor's and master's degrees to be granted by Singapore's Raffles College for Higher Education.

Vietnamese authorities ordered the school to suspend the courses since it was only licensed to offer short vocational courses in English, marketing, business administration, accounting, and tourism.

But by then it had been running them for seven years.

Nearly 200 people who had turned up to get the refunds on the designated day got nothing.

An argument between them and school officials lasted 10 hours and almost led to a fight with general director Hwong Kee Hong, who was leaving for Singapore with the center's principal later that night.

The parents complained to the city police, accusing the center of fraud.

Nguyen Thanh Hiep, head of vocational education at the city Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, gave until March 23 for the center to return the money.


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Students who have finished their courses would not get a refund, he said without clarifying if they would get a degree.

Those who have yet to finish and choose to continue studying at Raffles center in Singapore will get a one-way flight ticket and US$300 a month from the school.

Raffles's HCMC school has around 900 affected students, while in Hanoi the number is 360.

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