Much like the other teachers in this thread, I too have worked at CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) and agree with much of what has been said. I worked for this school for approximately 7 months this past school year before I decided to leave. Many of the reasons for why I left have already been highlighted in this thread but I will continue sharing some of my experiences with CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan). This is a long post so if you need a brief overview please just jump to the bottom of the post and if you’re too lazy to do that, just let me say DO NOT WORK OR SEND YOUR KIDS HERE.
Before I begin I would just like to state that I know many high schools in Asia overcharge students for having foreign teachers and are generally just a place for the students to work on their English and hopefully one day go to an English speaking country for University. I understand this is a gross generalization but this seems to be the case the majority of the time. CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) is on another level on the topics of undervaluing teachers, treating everyone as if they were a piece of property, and overcharging students.
When I first arrived at CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) I arrived to not one teacher from the previous teaching year. On top of no previous teachers, we had no previous resources. Just to note this isn’t just an English teaching job, this is actual Ontario based curriculum and you need to incorporate ESL into every one of these courses. Which, if you’re a teacher you know how long and difficult it is to build curriculum from scratch, especially when it’s for anywhere between three to five different classes. Now even though there were no previous teachers we had a newly appointed Dean of Academics who was previously mentioned in another post. She was a hard and dedicated worker who shared the vision of improving the school for the students and staff. Unfortunately like many of us she has since left due to management of the school. Her position was supposed to be one where she had the power to change things but it never worked out that way. Just to highlight the seriousness of this post I’d like to tell you the turnover rates. I think it speaks volumes that the current turnover rates for the first semester is already over 100% among the teaching staff. This is not including the 4 support staff and the Dean of Academics that have quit as well.
The problem with this school starts from the top. The micromanagement from the administrators is by and far the largest problem with this school. They take any critical feedback and suggestions from the teaching staff as if they are complaints and constantly defend their reasoning behind these decisions. This prevents much of the growth in the school and for anything to actually change they need to realize they are not educators, they are business people and they should respect the opinions of educators who are trying to make their business grow and have higher educational standards. They have had year after year of different teachers who have suggested the same suggestions again and again only to ignore them. There were multiple occasions where the teachers provided a collective list of students that shouldn’t be attending CICT for one reason or another. A few of these reasons were students not wanting to be there or students that had learning disabilities that we were not equipped to deal with. These lists were ignored and this demonstrates the schools lack of caring for what is best for the student’s education but rather only caring about the profits the business makes. At one point in time we were told by the administrators that we just need to teach and not worry about the business end of the school. They think that the two concepts of education and business are separable in a school when they are in fact not.
On top of the micromanagement there is the utter disrespect and uncaring nature for the staff and students of CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan), all who I mentioned before are seen as unnecessary and replaceable assets. Whenever a teacher either left or was fired from CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) the administrators would make up a lie to tell the students a different reason as to why they left in order to save face. If a teacher is fired, rather than fixing the problems or owning up to their mistakes (of hiring a bad teacher) they blatantly lie to the students with one reason or another. If a teacher leaves on their own accord the administrators give various reasons like “they were not meeting teaching standards of CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan)”, “They cannot adapt to Taiwan and they’re only here to have fun”. When I resigned one administrator asked to speak to me in his office. I was straight to the point and told him the list of reasons as to why I was leaving CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) and told him he needed to reconsider his business practices since he is getting huge turnover rates. The day before my last day he called an assembly to inform the students what was happening and told them I was leaving because I was “intimidated” by the new teachers, a blatant lie. Many of the students were upset over this because they had already been told the real reasons. Like I’ve said, rather than trying to fix or even offer to fix the problems I had stated in my one on one meeting with him, he simply dismissed me from his office and turned his head as if the schools problems did not exist. The administrators will blame everyone but themselves when something goes wrong and will always try to displace the responsibility upon someone else.
A prime example of blaming everyone but themselves and taking no responsibility mentioned in a previous post was the sexual assault of one of the students attending CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) during a school event at Hanyin high school. No one took responsibility for the incident despite being pressured by the teaching staff repeatedly to do something. As a result nothing was done to investigate the incident or give consequences on the perpetrator. This is unacceptable in any environment and even more so when it happens to a student when under the supervision of the school. In addition to this event there was a more recent incident with one of the teachers who had been fired and then went on to assault another employee. The school had no policies in place in regards to workplace harassment, assault, or anything else for its employees or students. It is absolutely upon the business owners to have these boundaries established and to protect its staff and students in situations like these.
The students that attend CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) are charged incomprehensible amounts of money to attend a private school. The base fees for attending the school and living on campus are higher than those of an international school in Canada. We’re talking over $40,000 for one year of private school. Now perhaps this would not seem so bad if the students were receiving the benefits from these costs but they do not and the students are charged for anything and everything.
Your teacher wants some basic chemistry equipment? Night classes? The students are charged. Field trip? Visa to Canada? Trip to Canada for the summer? The students are charged and the price is marked up. What happens if you don’t want to attend any of these events? Punished or perhaps you are not allowed to attend CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) next year. Now I figure after all is said and done the students pay in the range of $50,000 - $60,000 a year. So now you’re thinking, well they must have some awesome equipment, extremely small classes sizes or some 5 star living and dining, right? There’s no way you can be charging someone that much and not getting the best of the best!
The school has less equipment than an underfunded public school. We’re talking a few projectors, two smart boards and the rest chalk boards. All of my classes with the exception of one (of 7) were over 25 students and had up to 35 students in one class. Keep in mind; this is at a school with 100 students. As for 5 star living and dining, up to three students are put into small residence style rooms and charged ridiculous amounts of money for them. The administrators say it’s to “get them ready for Canadian prices”; an unnecessary price when the cost of living in Taiwan is very low. Now for the food, I’d compare the food to prison food but that would be taking a shot at the cooks in prison. The food is disgusting and many of the kids complain about just how bad it is. When the students complain they are punished. After consistent complaining from teaching staff it was finally changed to a new company in February which happened to be worse than the first company (smaller portions, less quality of food and a smaller variety). After complaining again how bad it was, rather than searching for another new company they returned to the first company. The best part about the food is they advertise “5 star dining” on their Facebook page.
You might ask, why don’t the students just leave then? Well there are two problems. The first is there doesn’t seem to be much market competition for getting children into a Canadian University which is what CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) offers. Second, the students are essentially stuck once they enter in this system. If they try to leave mid-year, they would have to repeat their schooling for whatever time they missed in the Taiwanese system. (Note that CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) is not teaching under the Taiwanese educational system but instead under a Canadian one). CICT does this by listing it as a cram school where they can teach whatever curriculum they choose. If the students decide to stay at CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) and complete their two years there, but do not want to or cannot advance into a Canadian high school they have to pay up to $10,000 CAD for their regular Taiwanese high school diploma or return to the Taiwanese system and repeat the previous years missed.
Now I think I will end it on these three main points as my previous colleagues have touched on many other problems that exist in CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan). There is much more wrong about CICT (Columbia International College Taiwan) but I will save you the misery I’ve had to experience and just say if you have any questions or want to hear more about my adventures please feel free to contact me.
1. The administrators micromanage and all critical feedback is ignored.
2. Everyone is seen as disposable and replaceable: students, administration, teachers.
3. Nothing in place to protect students or staff if there is an incident that occurs.
4. The school values money over everything.
5. The administrators both consistently lie to administration staff, the teachers, the students and the parents.
Please DO NOT support this school by working for them or sending your children there. It is only encouraging the administrators that they do not need to change their business practices and will continue to profit off of this unethical business.
Please see another post where this school is discussed more at length: http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin ... read=69652