Vietnam News

Apax Leaders stops refunding tuition fees after boss’s arrest

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English school Apax Leaders has announced that it would stop refunding tuition to parents following the arrest of its owner Nguyen Ngoc Thuy over fraud allegations.

In a Tuesday announcement, Apax Leaders said it would temporarily suspend the calculation of tuition and debts with parents during the investigation. The refunding of tuition would also be suspended during the process.

“Apax hopes for parents’ understanding,” general director Doan Thi Thanh Thuy said in the announcement.

“The management board and directors guarantee to maintain the centers’ consistent operation to ensure students’ education rights.”

Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, chairman of education corporation Egroup that owns Apax Leaders, was arrested on Monday over allegations of fraud committed during the share transfer at Egroup.

Apax Leaders said his arrest “absolutely has no impact” on the operation and teaching activities at active centers.

Apax Leaders, licensed in 2016, is a chain of English education centers for children.

The school used to have 50 centers and 22,000 students in 2019.

Now it has 38 centers, mostly in the north, after many were closed in HCMC, Dak Lak and Da Nang in 2020 and 2021.

Many parents have been asking for refunds following the closure, also criticizing the centers for not keeping its teaching quality up to par as promised.

Following rounds of negotiations, in March last year, Apax Leaders divided parents into two groups with different refund schedules. Several parents in the first group have received their money back in different times from June to August 2023.

The second group was promised to have their tuition refunded from October 2023 to April 2024. However, the company then proposed a new refund schedule that would supposedly last until the end of 2025, before its chairman Thuy said in January that the company would be unable to refund the fees since it faced “difficulties.”

In HCMC alone, Apax Leaders still owes 4,400 students around VND94 billion (US$3.79 million), the municipal Department of Education and Training said earlier this month.

Hong Phuoc, in HCMC’s District 3, said he had paid over VND100 million (US$4,000) for his two children to study at Apax in 2022, but they had only studied for a few classes when the center closed down. Apax still owes him around VND90 million.

Hong Phuong, in HCMC’s Phu Nhuan District, said many parents like her want the authorities to intervene in the matter. However, Phuong is worried as she does not know when she can get back around VND50 million that Apax owes her.

“I hope I can get them all back, even if it might take a long time,” she said.

Tran Van Nghiem, from District 7, who represents around 300 parents that Apax owes money to, said he is looking into ways to report the matter to authorities and prove the damage incurred. He said several parents even borrowed money from families and friends to pay for Apax’s tuition.

By Tat Dat – – March 26, 2024

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