With a gradual reopening of schools having been announced, Oknha Dr Mengly J Quach, the founder, chairman and CEO of MJQ Education, has offered his thanks to the government and Ministry of Education for their handling of the Covid-19 crisis and called for summer schools to be allowed to take place on campus.
MJQ Education is the parent company of Aii Language Center (Aii) and American Intercon School (AIS).
AIS summer school starts in August, and Quach is urging the government to allow them to go ahead in physical classrooms to ensure levels of safety are at their highest before schools reopen fully.
While he said the schools lockdown put in place to combat the outbreak hit the private education sector hard, with many smaller institutions across the Kingdom going out of business, the announcement has brought optimism, with terms and summer camps set to start in the near future.
“I want to thank the government for ensuring people’s safety during this unprecedented global pandemic, and also the Ministry of Education for their care and for giving reassurance to schools, parents and students with the green light to start reopening.
“This announcement is good news for the sector and for schools like us who start their new terms in October or November. For us, we can continue to offer scholarships and start our summer schools.
“If we were able to open in August then we could run our free summer schools in physical classrooms in preparation for the new term.
“With less students attending summer school, allowing it to take place on campus would serve as a dress rehearsal for full reopening, ensuring that safety measures would be at their highest,” said Quach.
He added that such a move would also help to “inspire” students ahead of their return to the classroom.
“Students are saying they are missing school, and are desperate to see their friends and teachers again and get back into education properly.
“Our summer school runs from August 24 to October 2. We run summer school every year to prepare students for the coming academic year. As this year has been difficult due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it is even more important that we can run the programme physically on campus to give students the opportunity to regain an educational mindset – to be inspired again – in preparation for the new term and to reassure parents.
“While our summer school will be free, other educational institutions could use the income generated to steady themselves after the huge financial hit from the lockdown,” said the founder of Aii and AIS, whose institutions have grown to teach some 14,500 students since being founded in 2005.
While schools on their reopening must adhere to the guidelines laid out by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, Quach says his surpass even these.
“As a medical doctor and public health specialist, I have always ensured my schools have the most stringent hygiene standards. We already have many advantages and are well prepared as schools look to reopen.
“Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, we followed the strictest standards of cleanliness and our staff are well trained. Our restrooms are cleaned every hour, while all our buildings are deep cleaned every week.
“We are also the only schools to have full student health centres, with doctors and nurses on hand. We are very proud of this,” he said.
With such measures already in place, he said his schools are all set to welcome back students and are ideally placed to offer peace of mind as the Kingdom’s education sector moves into the new reality.
“Following the outbreak, all our classrooms are ventilated so clean air circulates and a minimum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius is maintained.
“The wearing of masks will be mandatory, while social distancing measures, hand sanitising and the strictest levels of hygiene will be in place.
“I was the first at the start of the outbreak to release a video to advise people on the importance of hygiene in combating the coronavirus and to reassure them – and my commitment to public safety remains unwavering,” said Quach.