A fair fee reduction at DCIS, Singapore & real help for families impacted by C-19

A fair fee reduction at DCIS, Singapore & real help for families impacted by C-19

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Colm Flanagan started this petition to DCIS (Dover Court International School) and

Dover Court International School (DCIS) is a highly profitable international private school that was acquired by private equity in 2018 (Baring Private Equity Asia and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)), to become part of the Nord Anglia Education group, a global network of 66 international schools located in 29 countries). According to its last audited public accounts, in 2018 DCIS recorded profit before tax of S$10.5m, on revenues of S$38.6m and at a margin of approx. 27%. Cash balances at the end of the financial year were $44.4m. On any measure it is in an exceptionally strong position, backed by significant financial resources.

Like all schools during the circuit-breaker period, the campus is closed and it can only provide services via Virtual Schooling, which typically consist of limited live lessons with the teacher, some pre-recorded lessons, YouTube videos and printable worksheets for the children to complete. Virtual Schooling was never meant to and can never replace the full campus experience, with face-to-face teaching and pastoral care, music, languages, PE, library, science, computing, social and academic interaction with classmates, and extra-curricular activities. Teachers are doing their best and their efforts are genuinely appreciated.

Despite the significant reduction in services and quality of education being delivered under Virtual Schooling, DCIS believes that it should only offer small discounts for mainstream students (5% for secondary students, 10-15% for primary), and makes the discount only available to students continuing next year in the form of a credit. Having increased fees by almost 20% over the last 3 years, DCIS has frozen 2020/21 fees ‘as a gesture of goodwill’. We are calling for significant term 3 fee reductions – offered to all students and without conditions - to fairly reflect the services that DCIS has been (and remains) unable to provide during the circuit-breaker period.

We are also calling for DCIS to announce short-term compassionate financial support measures to support those families who have very suddenly lost their jobs or the majority of their income due to the economic downturn caused by C-19. No parent should have to withdraw their children from school while they desperately try to find alternative employment.

Finally, we are calling for DCIS to decrease their fee structure for 2020/21, to reflect the real economic situation and financial challenges facing the whole school community. Rather than focus on generating ever-increasing profits and margin in the short-term, we urge DCIS/Nord Anglia to build long-term sustainable value by choosing community over profit. As we have said before, we believe DCIS would enhance its reputation and build a stronger bond with the school community – a sense that DCIS and each one of us, individually and collectively, are in this together and looking out for each other, not just the bottom line.

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