How to fail as a teacher of foreign students – refuse to pass the buggers who learn nothing

Don't worry, kid...we can guarantee you a diploma in brain surgery.

We must wonder about the overseas education business this morning, after learning of what happened to teacher Judy Kraidy.

She lost her job teaching foreign students because she refused to pass students who paid about $15,000 to $20,000 for a course but did not learn anything.

“When you’re at tertiary level accountancy … you can’t just give them a qualification because you feel sorry for them. They have to meet a standard and even the absolute minimum standard they couldn’t come close to.”

Bad attitude, apparently.

She was given the heave-ho from the grandly named New Zealand Institute of Commerce, which Alf is pleased to report is no longer in business.

Alf tracked down a listing of the company on the web which mis-spelled the name of the country in which it was operating:

Study English in newzealand and Education in New Zealand, Academics, attend university or polytechnic or high school, visa help, homestay and farmstay placement, attend a language school or academy, activities and English, support, summer camps for youth and students, counseling agency for education in New Zealand, a global company for newzealand

Based on this and Judy Kraidy’s experience, the institute’s closure is just as bloody well.

According to the Herald –

The experienced South African-born teacher was replaced when she failed 20 out of the 24 Chinese students in her accountancy class at the now-defunct New Zealand Institute of Commerce in central Auckland.

The school put another teacher in charge of the class and told Mrs Kraidy she needed to show a more “caring approach” to vulnerable, homesick Asian youngsters.

Kraidy took the matter to a Disputes Tribunal, as Alf would have urged her to do had he been consulted for advice, and the tribunal found in her favour

…saying her teaching ability was not in question. It said the school made a commercial decision to hold on to the students and could not expect her to take a pay cut as a result.

This dispute raises questions about others in the business of teaching overseas students.

Mrs Kraidy is saying her experience matched those of several other teachers, who have told the Weekend Herald that many diploma schools for foreign students bend or break the rules to make sure everyone passes.

She said students were given the answer for one of her exams and the replacement exam was dumbed down after she was moved aside.

“The whole thing was a can of worms because they had promised these students, ‘Pay your money and we’ll get you a good qualification’, and I wasn’t prepared to play their game.”

Mrs Kraidy said she realised when she started teaching the Accountancy 101 paper in 2004 that most of her students spoke little English and knew nothing about the subject, but had passed the introductory paper the previous year.

She then found out three students had been given the solution to her mid-term exam. She complained but no one took any action.

The school got another teacher to take the paper for the second half of the year afte most of her class failed the course in June.

Mrs Kraidy passed a copy of the rewritten mid-term exam to Massey University accountancy professor Jill Hooks, who wrote back saying the two hardest questions had been removed and four out of the five questions left were virtually identical to those in the previous exam.

“This is not appropriate in any circumstances but especially in this case considering that many students … are repeating the paper.”

So how did the school respond?

Ah, it sent her a legal letter saying the exam was only intended for the tutor to assess students’ progress.

“We are hereby instructed on behalf of NZI Com to put you on notice that it is entirely inappropriate for you to indulge in the sort of behaviour that you have been and in particular under no circumstances should you disclose information to NZQA [New Zealand Qualifications Authority] in relation to NZI Com, its students and its courses,” it said.

The tribunal said new students responded well to Mrs Kraidy’s teaching style.

But – not surprising to Alf – there was a bad reaction from those who were used to a level which NZQA had previously judged to be substandard.

But here’s the thing.

It seems other schools might have even lower standards.

Former NZI Com director Nina Hsu said her college did not give out easy passes, unlike other diploma schools.

“Some schools have no teacher, some students don’t go to schools to study. We are not a school like that. We always take care of our students.

Mrs Hsu said teachers needed to have “a loving heart for the students” but Mrs Kraidy did not.

Mrs Kaidy had a couple of concerns.

First, many students treated guaranteed-pass courses as a short cut to permanent residency. This pissed her off, because she was an immigrant who had worked hard to get into New Zealand legitimately.

Second, she worried about what happened to all the non-achieving students the school had passed and the possible knock-on effect on universities.

Massey University lost about 60 overseas students from its bachelor of business studies last year after it found that many were failing and could hardly speak English

Dunno if that necessarily means they didn’t get good jobs.

They probably became the auditors of finance companies that subsequent collapsed.

2 Responses to How to fail as a teacher of foreign students – refuse to pass the buggers who learn nothing

  1. whatsaysyou says:

    Alf, you’re not the only one ranting about this issue of ‘passing’ students who learn nothing in New Zealand. Passing a student who learns nothing is like giving a faulty car a seal of approval for some unlucky buyer to purchase it. As a new blogger, I am concerned about this issue too as well as the issue of some people who buy fake certificates or diplomas just to get into a university programme

    • Alf Grumble says:

      Alf wishes you all the best with your blog at whatsaysyou.wordpress.com, especially when you are saying something he agrees with and putting the boot into Labour and the Greens.

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