Columbia International College Taiwan ( CICT ) and Hanyin Group
Columbia International College Taiwan (CICT) in review
For the record I was a former staff at CICT. I worked for them as a Grade 11 Chemistry, Physics, Functions, and Precalculus teacher this past year (2014-2015). If you’re looking for the short version of this review here, do not work for this company (Hanyin Group), this school, or the Chairman, Allan Lo. He blatantly lies to his staff, his students, and their parents. His only care about education is that it brings him money to go on cruises and holiday, he doesn’t care about anyone he works with nor the future of the students here. The longer version will follow.
To the prospective employee, there is absolutely no way I would recommend this as a workplace for you. If you are remotely professional or are passionate about your job and teaching DO NOT TAKE THIS JOB. No one cares about you as an employee, while you might argue that in Asia most foreign teachers are just a “face” to show the parents of the school, and you may be right, CICT takes it to another level. The communication is non-existent, there is an academic director at the school who refuses to talk with the teachers. If we didn’t know better she would tell us that she doesn’t speak English. Unfortunately for her, her English is very good, fluent, and she is easy to understand. She honestly tries her hardest to have as little contact with “her” staff as possible. At the start of the year we had weekly meetings where the teachers and other staff would discuss the week and problems etc (like no soap in the bathrooms, or toilet paper, misbehaving students, etc) The teachers would constantly bring up the lack of communication and our desire to improve that, the solution: STOP ALL MEETINGS. Not only did they stop meetings but they neglected to tell us that the meetings had ceased. After one teacher attempted to quit, the chairman spoke with her and said the problem would be fixed as he hired a “superintendent” who would serve as the communication between the academic department, the academic coordinator, and the chairman. Unfortunately, he came for 2 weeks, pretended to listen, had an entire office converted for him, then sent us an e-mail saying he had a quick business trip to China. This was in March and we didn’t see him again until the end of June at the students’ graduation. The teacher finally quit and the Chairman told other (already busy staff) to pick up the slack. The more I go on, the more I can say about this place. Please, do not give this man any assistance by working for him. He is an awful person, to top it all off he has no control over being challenged. He shouted at me during a meeting then proceeded to walk out slamming the door like a child because I did not want to sign a contract saying I would pay for a required uniform. If you have any more specific questions about what it is like to be a staff at this place please don’t hesitate to message me.
Now on to what it’s like to the students… Almost everything about this school is based on a lie or an overstretched ideal of how the chairman thinks that a school should visually look to outsiders. However, while working here the opposite of ideal has been true. Not only is the Chairman pocketing significantly more money that necessary, the cost that the students are paying is far greater than the education and life care that they are receiving. The students pay all of these “extra” fees for things that they are required to go to. For example, clubs and tutorial. The students MUST all be a part of 1 club and MUST all go to tutorial from 7-9 pm each night. The students must pay extra for each of these for the staff that are working during those times get no extra compensation. When confronted about this problem the response was “electricity costs”. The students paid an extra “club fee” for each club that once again they were required to sign up for but the club saw no evidence of that sign-up fee. No club got any type of funding from the money they already put into this, and when asked about this specific problem, the response was, “they are rich, you can make them buy anything”.
The meals at the school are another story, the amount is not enough for any active high school student to get full nutrition from, and when confronted about it the school makes the argument “it’s the kitchen not doing what we tell them” in contrast, on days where the chairman has been showing visitors around the school, the lunches miraculously become more plentiful, and better quality. Also a quote from the daughter of the chairman and a fellow teacher and guidance counselor at the school, “ we are trying to get them used to the food at the private school in Canada” by “giving them less” and worse tasting food. But at CIC in Canada the students have the freedom and option to order food on their own or purchase from a panini café. You might think, well the students can just order delivery to their dorms at evening or lunch times. False. The students started doing that when the Chairman butted in and banned students from ordering drinks, meals, or snacks from outside vendors. When the teachers tried helping them to order the Chairman once again told us we were not allowed to give the students food unless approved. The Chairman decided to put in a convenience type store near the lunch room but removed any instant noodles from is in case the students wouldn’t each their lunch if they had the option for instant noodles. There are so many things I could go on about but I think this review would get too long. One final problem was that my students saw how truly deceitful this man was, how empty his promises were, and how big of a joke he was. That weighs on a teacher to see your students so justifiably angry and so unmotivated to learn because they knew that because they had paid their marks were irrelevant.
I can’t stress enough what a truly awful company Hanyin and CICT were to work for. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A CONTRACT. If you happen to be a parent reading this, DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD HERE, there are other opportunities for him/her. Please message me for any questions.