ACPI English School, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam

by Maria
(HCMC)

Hi there!


I've just finished an internship at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology. The salary was terrible but I didn’t know before coming here that I should get far more– everything was organized by AIESEC. I fast noticed that the director of the language center just uses graduates as blue collar workers for 500$ a month (no benefits included) forcing them to work more than in the contract.

I was ready to go back home (Poland) on Thursday, 05/17 (less than 1 week) but yesterday I got an offer from Mr. Pham (ACPI) to go to Thanh Hoa province to teach at the university language center. 13$/1h 20-22hrs/ week, accommodation (AC + fridge) provided on the premises, traveling expenses covered. Contract for 6 months.

I have a MA in English Philology (profession – teacher) and only 6 months of class teaching experience.

Do you think it’s a good offer?

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Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com


No, I don't think it is a very good offer. I have worked for ACPI and my friend currently works in their Ho Chi Minh city branch. I have no complaints about them personally. They leave you alone to do your job but they are known for making promises they don't keep and paying as little as they can.

You are going to a pretty small town so prices are cheaper but there is nothing there to do and you'll always be 'The Foreigner'. That can be fun for a few months but it gets very lonely because you'll always be treated as an outsider no matter how well you try to fit in.

Most schools pay More when you re-locate into rural Vietnam, so the pay is terrible. When they offer 20 hours a week that usually means 15 hours a week. If they don't get the students to sign up then they will close classes on you.

You can always break your contract and leave as long as you give notice. I would not go for less than a Guaranteed 25 hour work week and $15USD an hour at the minimum.

Heck, even 'Cleverlearn' in Ho Chi Minh City will pay $15USD an hour and guarantee a 25 hour work week. Once they have you in Thanh Hoa, there is no where for you to go.

Remember that the first school that you worked for took advantage of you. I believe that this school is also trying to do that. Say 'no' and I bet they offer you more money.

You have an MA in English and experience. You qualify for employment at RMIT University at a salary of $3,500USD / Month!

Besides, it sounds to me that you are looking forward to going home. That offer will still be there in a year so I would go back home for the summer and return when and if you feel like it.

Poland is beautiful this time of year.

Philip.

Comments for ACPI English School, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam

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Oct 19, 2017
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Really informative blog NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm working in Thanh Hoa at one of the local language center and I'd like to cover my part time. Could you please suggest me the link where I can contact for the aforesaid schools ! Your help is much appreciated, Thanks in advance.

Dec 30, 2016
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"watch your six"
by: hor4463@yahoo.com

I'm Anthony...I've been away from HCMC and ACPI for too long to comment now on the school or their administration.

My advice to you is to seek information from other teachers at the school. I would advise that you interview the school, seek out what resources the facility has and decide after a day or two. Making sure you receive a contract, assistance on obtaining a visa and a "work permit"...You must have a work permit to work in Vietnam.

This permit is required "prior" to you doing any teaching...regardless of what others may have told or you have heard.

This is the reason I no longer work for anyone in Vietnam...far too many have lied about the obtaining a work permit. I have acquired permission from the Ministry of Education to teach out of my residence. Because of this action, I do not require a 'permit'. I trust no one.

Happy New Year

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Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com


Awesome stuff. "Trust no one" It is really great advice. Very condensed.

I disagree with "This permit is required "prior" to you doing any teaching...regardless of what others may have told or you have heard"

According to law, this is a true statement. My friends all came over to Cambodia during TeT to visit me. Only 1 has a work permit, yet they have all been working there for nearly 10 years.

But, it is true that they are breaking the rules. But who doesn't?

ACPI is a mill of teachers coming and going. That's why they ask the 2 year contract. To be absolutely honest, they have a reputation for questionable actions.

ACPI DOES have a weak reputation among teachers in Saigon. It might be all wrong. They could be ok. But why take the risk when so many other schools are out there?

They earned that reputation somehow. Where there is smoke.....

And rule #1 ... NEVER sign on for 2 years. It is extreme when compared to the average.

Dec 30, 2016
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I appreciate the help.
by: anonymous

I personally want to thank Philip for his informational posts.

A friend of mine has recently arrived from a trip to Vietnam, he met a man out there who claims to be a Director of an ACPI School. The Director offered my friend a position as a teacher near HCMC by the Thu Duc District, my friend denied the position but told him that I (his friend back in the states) would be interested.

The Job requires a 2 year commitment, offers $15/hour, about 20 hours a week, a room, and help getting a visa. I believe something else was said about getting paid only $100 a month only during the summer months.

Before making the decision to leave my home, I need to know that this school can be trusted and that I will be safe. Second I would like to negotiate travel coverage, I do not have any complaints about the pay though, unless it isn't given.

The last thing I would like to ask is advice on actually teaching English, and ideas on how to prepare my English skills before departure.

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Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com


I can't offer you assurances, and I can't say much about teaching advice because there is not the room for it here in the forum. Perhaps I'll write a page outside of the forum.

I will tell you to take a bigger risk though. You had better not give up your freedom by signing a 2 year contract on a measly $15/hr just to make you feel secure.

I have never seen a contract over 1 year. They will put you in the cheapest room they can find and then milk everything they can get out of you. I see it all the time.

The average wage among my 5 friends in Vietnam is $22USD an hour for a 20 hour week.

One man went to Saigon with everything sorted in advance by the school and verbal assurances were given. He ended up working 8 hours a day, 6 days a week with a 30min lunch break. He earned $1500USD a month.

Another guy just flew there with 1 or 2 nice shits and a tie and slacks. He signed a 12 month contract, worked 5 hours a day for 5 days a week. And earned $2,000USD a month.

I run this website, currently live in Cambodia, but was 3 years in Saigon. I beg you not to trust any assurances from the schools.

I worked 5 hours a day and went home. Other people were forced to work 8 hours a day, but taught only 5 hours. They were forced to attend school events on their days off, they were forced to arrive at school 1 hour early and told to stand at the front of the school "because his white face gave the school a better image". People stare at you like you're a monkey riding a pig.

I can't tell you enough. It makes me angry. Just go with courage. Arrive with some sharp clothes and a good resume. Get a personal phone number, Wake up at 7am, dress nice, take your resumes, then stand and wait for a moto taxi driver. If he speaks good English just say "Take me to 10 schools near here ...I am a teacher". (You'll be in the 'Pham Ngu Lao' area).

Drop off resumes, go home and wait for them to phone you and beg you to work (On the telephone you bought in Vietnam.

Go to class. Just read through a chapter in the teacher's guide they will give you. You will know how to teach, it is in your blood. Trust in yourself because they are cut throat in Vietnam and only see you as a human being once you are standing in front of them with a resume, looking sharp.

Good Luck. Sorry for the clutter of words.

Philip.

Nov 11, 2015
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Imress
by: Tish Freitag

Nice and good.

Jul 06, 2012
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horizon4@horizonforseasia.com
by: Anthony

Philip,

Thanks for the comment regarding my posts. I have nothing 'personal' against ACPI or Mr. Bach. I've taught in Vietnam since 2004, this is 'my country' and these are 'my people' that are being taught. Far too many 'learn for 6 years' and know no more now than they did 5 years ago...

I've got a website that I only promote via 'word of mouth' that is free use and I offer to teach to those in countryside areas for free that are over 14 years old.

I am a very strict individual that demands students to 'do'. I do not 'spoon feed' them. I've got ready made syllabus for most all TOEIC and TOEFL and some Business Courses with Audio breakdown by Exercise.

Thus far, I have the Pearson and Compass approval for such as I have used these 'tools'.

Jun 21, 2012
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Poor Payment Practises at ACPI
by: Anthony

Philip,

As I had mentioned previously, I had helped start ACPI ... it was a good program at first...but something happened...I've done many things in my life...but I'm not a liar! Nor would I state something that would not be true to state!

ACPI failed to make payment as stated..."Man to Man", as no contract was ever given...as to the reason not many have stayed at Thanh Hoa University.

I'm an American...I came here to help the Vietnamese people...not screw them! The main reason I will not work an ESL establishment any longer...From Hanoi, Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh and other places...I worked for SITC as well in Hanoi and in Hai Phong. I received all my pay just prior to them running off.

I've even talked to teachers in their new building about pay...and they had stated at times it was not always there...

I don't know what your connection is with ACPI...but I would put them on a "Black List". The reason for this is from the 7 people I know who have had pay problems from them.

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Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com


I have no connection with ACPI English Schools. I did work for them for a full year and had absolutely no problems with getting payment.

I also remain in contact with 2 other teachers who are employed by ACPI in Ho Chi Minh City to this day. They have not had the same experience as you regarding payment of salary.

Lack of syllabus, students running the school, and computers infected with multiple viruses are quite common issues at many ESL schools in Vietnam. I can work around these issues but none of us can work around salary payment issues.

You have made a serious accusation. I don't believe in hurting a school's reputation without being absolutely certain that the poster has merit to their claims.

It is nothing personal. I feel a responsibility to challenge posters who make serious claims against any school. Most people back down when accused of inventing a story just to hurt a school's reputation. That's because most posters have a personal agenda that does not help visitors to this website.

I challenged you and you responded in a way that only genuine people do. I apologize for any comments that may have bothered you but it is necessary in order to keep the information on this site as useful to others and as near the truth as possible.

The real lesson here is that there is no such thing as a "Man to Man" contract.

P.S. We have quite a bit in common. I also resigned from SITC in Ho Chi Minh City just one month before they ran off with all the teachers' salaries and the students' tuition money.

Philip

Jun 21, 2012
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Thanh Hoa Province Teaching Nightmare
by: Anthony

I helped open ACPI back several years ago ... I quit them after about a year. No contract, no help in Visa ... the same drill as most ESL's. After not working for them and not being attached, Mr. Pham invited me one day to ask if I would go to Thanh Hoa with all that was mentioned, transportation, salary, room and hours.

I went there with another individual who had been promised something a bit different...Well, I packed up my bags and books, shipped my motorbike and went North from HCM. This was the first week of May, 2011. Payday was on/about 15th and 30th...being paid (I knew) on the 20th and 5th. The other guy was not told this...and quit after the 16th...I stuck around for another week or so...still no pay.

The real kicker was the students and the school. There was no Syllabus...a weekly schedule sent by e-mail on the Saturday or Sunday before the class started on Monday for only a week. ACPI did not want me to make a syllabus due to the students. The computer system was a complete wipe out...nothing but virus, constant delays, and no security. I used only once and never again. I ended up buying a G-3 device.

The director of the school was in no way a 'manager' of any type. The students were OK, but did not want to be 'told' what to do...as they pretty much ran the place. You were lucky to get through one or two pages a day due to them taking 30 to 40 minutes of each class to gather information from each other during the start of the class.

The other teacher after another 3 weeks finally received half of his pay. As for me, I packed up after the 6th of June and had an enjoyable bike ride back to Ho Chi Minh...covering nearly 2200 km. It took me another month or so to receive my pay.

I was told back in HCM that the University was not sending ACPI the funds to pay the teachers...during conversations at Thanh Hoa, this had been a constant and continued problem...they could not keep teachers once there due to non payment and other reasons.

I've lived here for over 7 years, I've got my own work permit, temp resident card, drivers license and have not worked for ESL's for over 3 years. The jobs are there if you want to work their way, their hours and just show up and let students listen. Few demand students to enter a class 'prepared'. I won't waste my time with such...

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Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com


Fair enough. A reasonable statement and not beyond the realm of the world of Teaching in Vietnam. I have heard many of your complaints before about many schools in Vietnam.

I have never heard a non payment claim against ACPI. I'm glad you eventually got your money.

But...

Any school in Vietnam that doesn't practice prompt and accurate payment of salary to its teachers will eventually hang themselves.

You may have just supplied them with the rope.

Philip.

May 17, 2012
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ACPI English School Hater
by: Anonymous

Just so you know, if you do not get your pay in advance, you will get screw by them. They messed so bad with the payment for foreign teacher.

Mr --- ---- is a bad Viet Kieu who try to get as much as possible from their country and at the same time from foreign teacher. But they sure know how to promise you.

Some of my friends worked for them, quitted after two weeks and doesn't get pay.

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Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com


I can tell by your grammar that you are Vietnamese. How could you possibly be qualified to advise Foreigners or have any idea how they are treated at ACPI?

You feel that you were treated unfairly and this post is an attack on ACPI and the Viet Kieu (Vietnamese people living overseas) owner. Viet Kieu are mostly disliked in Vietnam but it is mostly derived from jealousy. Many Vietnamese people want to hold an American passport and aggressively envy those who do.

That is what I think you are. If I am wrong then I apologize.

I have worked for ACPI and they are not stupid. I don't love them because they are always looking for ways to take advantage of foreign teaches that allow themselves to accept offers that are not on par with what they deserve.

I don't blame the school for that. I blame the people who don't bother to educate themselves about the going rate for pay of foreign teachers in Vietnam.

If I owned a school and a teacher offered to work for $500USD a month at 35 hours a week when the average salary is about $2,000USD a month for 25 hours a week, I will hire him. The school is a business and a business only exists to make money.

The one thing that kills a business like no other is failure to pay salary to employees in a prompt manner. ACPI may have faults but they don't dare delay payment to their emplyees. If they did, word would get out quickly and they would be out of business within a month. I therefore believe that your post is not honest advice to anyone here but a personal attack for personal reasons.

My only advice is that people do not accept their first ofer to work before learning what others are earning and what the going rate is. Negotiate pay rates at the end of your successful interview or before you start your first shift.

I told ACPI that I had better pay and more guaranteed hours at another school. They knew then that I was not stupid and began the negotiation process.

Employers in Vietnam don't respect you until you say no and fight for yourself in a calm and reasonable manner.

Please take your personal attacks elsewhere. You are not offering helpful advice to foreigners or anyone. You are merely hiding your true agenda within the guise of helpful advice.

Sorry, Mate. Been living in Vietnam too long for this.

Philip

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