Saturday, July 12, 2014

The New School

 Our eight year old was enrolled into a private Catholic school this week, and after paying the enrollment fee, fees for books, school uniforms and PE uniforms, I assumed that we had paid all we needed to pay to the school until the first of August when the next months tuition payment is due. I was wrong.

We attended a conference meeting this morning for all foreign students where we learned of additional requirements. It seems that the next tuition payment is not due in August- but next week, so he can take the, so called, Mastery Tests. Rather than pay the tuition monthly, I'm going to pay three months in advance so we won't be blindsided by this type of thing again.

In addition to the tuition, we'll need to pay for his special class in Filipino. The price of that class will be determined by the number of foreign students in the class; we were told that there will be 11 elementary students in the special Filipino class. Going by last years costs, I'm expecting to pay PHP 2500.

I also learned this morning that my son will need a Special Student Permit (SSP) required by the Philippine government for all foreign students. This will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 PH Pesos. I'll need to go the the Philippine Immigration website for a list of the requirements for the SSP.

Last year, when we were visiting on vacation, we went by the school and talked to someone about the requirements to enroll him into the school; I wish we had been better informed. The secretary we spoke to last year is no longer the secretary for the principal- perhaps deservedly so.

As an aside; the lunches available in the school's canteen are surprisingly more to J.P.'s liking than the food provided in the school's cafeteria in the U.S.. The price is more to my liking too. When I visited the school Friday, he was eating fried chicken with rice. 35 pesos.

My wife visits my son for lunch every day, but I don't. I feel like it would be too much of an unnecessary embarrassment for him to have both parents at the school so often. This past Friday was "New Comers Day" and the students would provide entertainment. Naturally, I was there to watch my son dance.

It was the music used by the third and fourth graders that forced me to have a conversation with the school's principal, Sr Bernadette, after the conference this morning. The kids were dancing to Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty to Me". Anyone familiar with the song can understand why I felt it was not appropriate for students in a Catholic school. Sr Bernadette wasn't familiar the song, but after I voiced my concern, she said she would look into it and asked me to feel free to let her know if something like this happens again. Perhaps I'm prejudging her, but I trust Sr Bernadette much more in this situation than I would a nun at a Catholic school in the United States.

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