Bilingual or affordable International School in Banqiao

Hi… can anybody recommend any Bilingual School or School which teaches mostly in English for grade 7 upward in Banqiao or near by areas??

Can you define “affordable” and “international”?

Not to put too fine a point on things, but other than TAS and TES, most “international” schools here are 99.9% Taiwanese students, sometimes taught by white faces that often have few teaching credentials. The .1% of “non-Taiwanese” are usually either mixed race or children of the foreign teachers. Tuition for those schools can also end up being 300-400k/yr, but the school facilities are often very crowded and lacking. Teachers, even the foreign ones, are not really being paid much more than they would be at a cram school. Many of them have no teaching experience or only have experience in cram schools.

They are “for profit” schools that make promises to parents that they can’t really keep, then shift the blame around when children underperform, because overworked teachers who have no idea what they’re doing make great teachers.

Other than Kangchiao apparently being “better in recent years” (you can find the stories yourself, I have no experience with them), it seems like there isn’t really anywhere other than TAS or TES to get a junior or senior high school student educated in a not totally test-driven way. I always figure if I were to have children, I would either bring them back to the US for 7-12 or find a reputable online school (also mostly profit-driven and outcomeless) or just throw caution to the wind and tell them to go to public school and let them get away with not doing homework or taking tests because there are better things to do with your brain power

2 Likes

What??? I was looking for not over 200K per year. 300-400k that is expensive LOL. I thought about letting my kid do on-line but that is lonely. I think kids need to socialize with people. If it’s a local public school, it would not be good for him too. He wouldn’t understand what they teacher and friends are talking about and end up wasting time in school and don’t know what they are doing. What is TAS and TES??

Look up Dominican as well.

When are you moving to Taiwan, and where are you coming from?

In about 2 or 3 weeks the whole island may well be back to remote learning, so silver lining…

TAS = Taipei American School, TES = European School. Both of those are much higher than the tuition I just listed (USD30k/yr or more). Considering their tuition is many times more than annual local wages, your child would end up with ultra wealthy classmates, which may or may not give them a difficult time socially. That’s assuming you want to or even have the funds to send them there.

I think I missed an obvious question: do you or your child speak Chinese? If there’s no Chinese, it would be really difficult to do anything in the public schools past third grade in TW, as academic work is insane and few schools have Chinese as a second language classes. But some do.

I know what you mean about online classes being socially isolating, but, considering pilots bringing in COVID, it’s possible it wouldn’t matter, since we’d all be online. Being lonely in an expensive private school where your classmates don’t want to speak English can also be incredibly isolating. I would also emphasize that if you’re doing online school, it would mean taking on other hobbies or even a part time job to make sure there is plenty of social interaction! Homeschooled children lose a lot socially and don’t always catch up with their peers.

I have heard Kangchaio is not as expensive as other “international” schools. I think it’s within the ballpark of 200K. They are owned by the main Taiwanese textbook publishing company, which the government requires all schools to purchase, so they have a lot of money to throw around, even if their textbooks aren’t worth :poop:

TAS is actually 1m per year once you add up all costs. That’s 83k per month.

Dominican is 450k per year (37k per month). Still outside of OPs budget. Unfortunately that seems to be the cheapest international school in Taipei.

http://www.dishs.tp.edu.tw/admission/schedule-of-fees.html

As for bilingual (not international) schools, this thread has a good list with their fees:

1 Like

Strangely, there are affordable international schools in Taipei - but only for non-English speaking students:

Taipei Korean school - 10k per month
http://taipeiks.net/?act=board.read&code=1410&page=1&num=9&id=9

Taipei Japanese school - 7.5k per month
http://www.tjs.tp.edu.tw/hennyu/

It’s worth noting how ridiculous this is - TAS is 11x more expensive than TJS, while both schools are literally across the road from each other in Tianmu.

Why are there no affordable English international schools targeting foreign families (i e not Taiwanese children with dual passports)? Unclear - I don’t think there’s a lack of demand.

3 Likes

Very clear: rich parents are willing to pay anything for their children to afford “the best”. English opens doors in ways that other languages do not. Quality (experienced in real schools, licensed) teachers will not take a private school job that pays less than 100K/mo and expect housing stipends, airfare and tuition for children covered. Add rent to the mix in Taipei and I don’t know how many of the smaller schools make any money. Look at how many public schools around Taiwan have banners outside them declaring “We are bilingual school now!” Ya couldn’t even bother to ask an English speaker if your banner made sense, but a Taiwanese person would only know to take the time to read and translate each word, see “bilingual” and want their kid to go there because “English.” Also, i know the French school at TES is subsidized by the French government for French citizens. Can you imagine all the wealthy AF dual TW-US citizens at TAS, which make up the vast majority of the student population, getting their education subsidized by the US government? All the actual Americans (as in, children and parents born in the US and lived there for years and need an English-language, American education for a few years) here who can’t begin to fathom affording to send their children there would be much more upset.

The school I taught at last year, which claimed to be an international experimental school (the philosophy of which would be never assigning homework or giving tests), had actually promised parents that their children would be prepared to pass the TAS admissions test. By which I mean “are there school-wide targets for English proficiency?” was met with “here is the test they’ll be taking”. So much for a homework and test-less experimental school. It was a TAS-test-prep, all-day cram school!

Bilingual 2030!!

2 Likes

Did you get that at the experimental school you worked at? If you didn’t, does that mean you are not a quality teacher?

What I find interesting is all the high school international programmes outside of TAS and TES charge around 500k a year. That’s the business model. It’s hard to believe that nobody has attempted a cheaper option. There must be a market outside of wealthy Taiwanese parents with money to burn.

It’s the same with ‘bilingual’ kindergartens. They all charge about the same a month and offer virtually identical teaching programmes.

If I were a cynical man I’d suspect a degree of collusion at play.

1 Like

Of course people attempted to open a cheaper option, but they failed.

People equate cheaper with poor quality. If they looked closely, they would see that they are already getting poor quality. But most don’t care enough.

Did they? Which schools tried it?

I made the mistake of taking a job that paid 90K/ mo and ignored the lack of airfare in the offer because COVID meant I wouldn’t be using it anyway. I wanted out of the public school I was at because I felt like I was actively harming my students by being involved in their bs, testing-only education. Shortly after taking that job, I was offered another job for 110k/mo, before negotiating (the other one had initially offered me 60k/mo, to which I said “eff you. I’m licensed and have years of experience in real schools. Cram schools pay better than that and I was making 75k after taxes, etc at the public school”). I didn’t want to leave the new one right away because I liked my coworkers and had just started getting to know the students well. The longer I stayed at that school, however, the more I realized the admin was a bunch of crazies who didn’t have any interest in educating children, but rather making money off families and working teachers to the bone. A 12 hour work day was expected most days, as was working on many weekends. (for the record, anyone who is put in this situation, the labor bureau says that ALL work must be completed in the 8 hour work day and schools MUST provide overtime pay if you work more hours than that. Call them immediately if you are working more than 8 hr/day or expected to do any work on the weekend). If I’d been paid 150k/mo, I still wouldn’t have stayed there. Tuition was ~40k/mo there and there were almost 30 kids/class. Knowing how much the school was charging for tuition compared to how much we were being paid sent me off to look up other school salaries. They’re hard to come by, but even Kangchaio pays 100k/mo as a starting teacher. You don’t need to have a license to teach at Kangchaio, only one year “teaching ESL” in Taiwan. Looks like Dominican pays something like 50k/mo, which is just shocking to me. I know they’re Christian and teachers there likely believe in taking a pay cut in order to spread their faith, but a 套房 in Dazhi is going to be 20k at least. How are you supposed to live??

Another issue with “international” vs actual international schools here: TAS follows a normal American school day, wherein children go home around 2:30 or 3 like normal people. “International” schools have classes until 3:30 or 4, with the expectation that teachers stay and teach or supervise clubs and after school care until 5 or 6. Teachers at TAS make almost as much as a US teacher makes in a great-paying district, with US teaching hours and the ability to go home by 3:30 or 4 pm. I’ve never seen a private or international school in TW that doesn’t expect teachers to be in the building from 7:50 am to 5pm, minimum. This means teachers are exhausted, burned out, and cease to care about the outcomes of the students, even if they want to. The schools rarely provide any meaningful professional development or collaboration time, which means every teacher is just trying to make it through to the next day without children killing each other. It’s really not a good situation for anyone but the owners of the schools, which give wonderful sounding speeches about why their school is so great and ignore 99% of what actually happens there, as do the parents.

As for public “bilingual” schools, I think I’ve ranted on here enough. Taiwan’s definition of bilingual is “art, music, and PE are sometimes taught by a white person, who may or may not have signed up to be an EFL teacher and may or may not know what they’re doing”. There is the logic that you should “ease children into English” here in TW. That goes directly against every successful bilingual program I’ve ever heard of, which is over 90% target language academic classes (art, PE, and music are not “academic” in this definition) and 10% local language classes in first grade. Second grade = 70%/30%. At third grade, it becomes 50-50. Taiwan’s “bilingual” schools are almost all 5% English, 95% Chinese at best. They can’t even bother to hire native English-speaking staff to help proofread their email communication with the few non-Chinese-speaking families they have. They call elementary school first graders “freshmen” and put up banners outside their school in grammatically incorrect English. It’s embarrassing.
Sorry OP, I hope someone can come on here and prove me wrong!

5 Likes

No one will be able to prove you wrong. Thanks for the detailed reply.

Some families from the French section of TES tried to establish a more economical pricing school. I think one of the ideas was to share the campus with an existing local school.

I have no idea about the bureaucracy to open or run a school, but it seem not easy.

1 Like

I work for one 8 to 4:30.
So, they do exist.

Foreign teachers where I’m at are off at 4:30…no staying late required.
Kids stay til 5:30 with Chinese teachers though.

It would be nice to have more professional development sessions, but teachers are hired with a license. Wouldn’t it be safe to expect a licensed teacher to know what they are doing and not “need” professional development? One could reasonably expect a licensed / experienced teacher to know how to “make it through the day without children killing each other”.

No place will be perfect, but there are decent options out there besides TAS, TES, and Kangchiao.

2 Likes

they have been discussing it for 2 or 3 years already, i dont think space is the problem. the licensing is difficult, and then you need to find good teachers and pay them adequately. the parents are right,
you pay huge amounts of money in TES and I’m not sure its all justified. unfortunately, since the parents dont have a full time PM dedicated to this, I dont see it happening in coming years.

I’d love to know what school you’re at, but I realize you probably don’t want to share that on a public forum.

I don’t have a lot else to say other than, with regards to professional development, all teachers can benefit from and should participate in professional development throughout their career. No teacher knows everything, and schools that provide quality, meaningful professional development have better outcomes. Even if they don’t have better outcomes, it keeps their teachers aware of what they’re doing and how they’re doing things. The fact that most schools here don’t offer it means teachers get stuck in their ways, even as other methods are always out there and could be tried.

Yes I agree with you. Space is not the problem, money or cost is.