The 2 resolutions to be voted in General Assembly: an explanation

The 2 resolutions to be voted in General Assembly: an explanation

Dear all,

Many things have been said and written relative to the resolutions written by two LFI Action members and signed by over 60 parents. Acknowledging the questioning of some, and even the blaming of others who accuse us of being mean-minded, we believe it is important to remind all of us of the following facts:

These resolutions were put forward on April 11, when the Board had already publicly announced that they would call all members to vote on May 23rd General Assembly (GA) about a potential change of relationship with AEFE. These resolutions fall within a legal framework (NCO 622 Art 615) which aims at guaranteeing the rights of every member of the Association. They were meant to guarantee a real debate before the vote.

The Board did at first try to avoid the related discussion and the voting of these resolutions in the GA’s agenda, and they did engage legal fees to do so. Having had to accept them in April 27, the Board then modified the schedule and implemented the “binding consultation, which does not fall within a legal framework” (please refer to the Board exceptional meeting on April 27, its communication on April 29 and further details given by the Board on May 7). This change in schedule is an attempt to diminish the impact of these resolutions, and to make them look like anti-democratic, which is absolutely not the case. This maneuver also allows the Board to impede a debate within the General Assembly, hence harming the rights of the members of the Association (*).

Let’s now review the content of these resolutions. What do they basically say? First, they say that the method followed by the Board is not the right one and that it puts the stability of the Association at risk. The current violence of debates is the perfect example. They also say that to guarantee a controlled change, we need to start by:

(1)                Define LFI’s strategic project with the entire community, which is the only way to remain united before embarking in such a change.

(2)                Work on the reform of the governance of the Association and LFI’s bodies. Indeed, we must implement safeguards in order to ensure everybody’s opinion will be respected. We also must improve the functioning of LFI’s bodies in order to guarantee that we will continue to respect the homologation rules (French homologation).

(3)                A change in relationship with AEFE should only happen once these 2 steps are completed.

This is not about countering the decision made by the majority but about ensuring that everything will be done in the right order to preserve our community’s cohesiveness. This is actually the reason why these two resolutions have been put forward. Their objective is to allow this work to be done, regardless of the choice made by the majority, while respecting the minority’s opinion: We will continue to study the partnership in case of a convention vote, and we will put in place the safeguards to reassure the pro-convention parents in case of a move towards the partnership. Please do read the resolutions and the 1000 words whose diffusion is being delayed by the Board, and you will see that these resolutions are, well on the contrary, absolutely democratic.

Finally, we believe it is important to remind that the LFI Action group was born spontaneously two months ago, regrouping parents who did not know each other but wanted to fully understand the Board of Director’s project, wanted to get informed and to inform other parents. Understandably, we ended up demanding that everyone could feel part of the decision in a legal manner and having hold a one-on-one adversarial debate. However much we all have different sensitivities within the group, all of us ended up very naturally united behind a same set of core values: democracy, pluralism, integrity and intellectual honesty.

And we have paid great attention, perhaps disproportionally, to understanding LFI’s situation, the challenges of our relationship with AEFE, the Board’s project, the impact of the change initiated by the Board … and we have tried to share that information within our very limited means. To be precise, we have spent a total of 1350 HKD to create our website and to organize the meeting at the school on May 2. We let you compare with the means engaged by the Board, to support their unilateral communication.

We have always aimed at obtaining a one-on-one debate that we hoped would be a democratic one, allowing each party to express itself in a fair manner, and we have always asked for the decision to be left to a majority of votes during a verbal assembly, such as a General Assembly. Let’s remind ourselves of the importance of “isegorie” (equality of speech), one of the founding principles of democracy. In view of the communications made by the Board over the last months, can anybody reasonably believe that this principle has been respected?

It is time to advocate for a change in methods and for the respect of the rights of each and every member of the Association: do come participate in the General Assembly on May 23 and get involved in the debates, and do vote for the candidates and resolutions that you believe are most suitable to ensure LFIs progress.

LFI Action candidates & the entire LFI Action group

https://lfiaction.com/2019/05/17/resolution-7/ https://lfiaction.com/2019/05/17/resolution-8/

* Just another proof of the credit given to the rights of the members of the Association : we have asked the Board to circulate to all of the members of the Association a text of maximum 1000 words explaining the objective of each resolution, in line with article 580 of NC) Cap 622. There hasn’t been any diffusion up until now, and we are still waiting for an answer from the Board relative to this legitimate request.

Vote electronique – dernier jour.

Deux documents ont ete ajouté hier:

Nous recommandons de voter la Nouvelle Convention et de venir à l’AG le 23 mai.


Communication du Lycée:

Il est encore temps de postuler pour rejoindre le Conseil d’Administration. Vous pouvez déposer votre dossier de candidature jusqu’au 16 mai (18h30).

Selon les résultats de la consultation le 16 mai après-midi, vous pourrez toujours retirer votre candidature avant l’annonce officielle de la liste des candidats le 17 mai.

Vous pouvez également postuler pour devenir Parent Représentant.

L’école a besoin de vous !

Téléchargez le formulaire de candidature

Trait d’union Magazine

Yesterday, Trait d’Union, the local French community newspaper published an online Q&A with LFI action.


http://www.traitdunionmag.com/lfi-action-information-transparence-et-concertation-pour-linteret-general-du-lycee-francais-de-hong-kong/

Find below a translation kindly provided by a volunteer. Thank you!

LFI Action: “Providing information, transparency and dialog for the general good of the French International School of Hong Kong”

LFI Action group was set up last March by parent volunteers in reaction to plans of statutory change of the French International School (FIS); since then, it has reached out, in the spirit of open dialogues, transparency and in the interest of the school community.

Convention or partnership? This question is crucial for the future of FIS and was debated between LFI Action and an audience of 200 people at a meeting organized on May 2nd.

After inviting the FIS Board President, the Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macao, Hong Kong French magazine “Trait d’Union” has interviewed founding members of LFI Action (Marie Faveur, Frédéric Lainé, Alexandre de Saint Léon).

(Interview conducted by Philippe Dova)

Trait d’Union: Why did you set up LFI Action?

LFI Action: LFI Action was set up following a letter published by a group of FIS teachers on March 12th. We realized the lack of transparency and information following the Board unilateral decision to move the FIS away from its current “Convention” status within the AEFE (“French Agency of for Teaching of French Abroad”) network and change it to a “Partnership” status, a few parents joined forces and founded LFI Action.

Who are you and who are LFI members?

The list of the LFI members is too long to name them one by one! We are parents who volunteer to seek for more transparency of the board’s decision-making process, willing to re-establish a dialogue amongst all stakeholders of FIS and foster a smoother management for the good of everyone in the school community.

What did you do first?

We launched an online petition on March 19th and got nearly 600 supporters within 48 hours.

This first action helped all the parents to get a vote at the General assembly on the coming May 23rd. After that, we created www.lfiaction.com to provide information so that everyone can build a well-informed opinion. The website contains all key documents about the convention and the partnership models.

Isn’t this information redundant with the FIS Board communication?

The FIS Board indeed organized several events and webinars, yet both guest speakers and the information presented are rather biased towards the partnership model… LFI Action’s founding and its explicit goal is to inform the FIS community for a well-informed and responsible vote.  

Did your actions have an impact on board members?

They certainly did trigger a reaction! Without the petition, the board members would have already made the decision about the change of status unilaterally.

We also noticed that the board had to take into consideration some of our inputs and adjust its case accordingly. In that sense, the dialogue could bear some fruits even though it was an indirect one.

We also would like to emphasize two resolutions we proposed on April 11th and which should have been debated and put to vote at the General Assembly on May 23rd.

Could you please elaborate?

The first resolution proposes an open vote for the hard negotiated new convention. The second resolution is, in case a partnership model resulted after an open vote, we propose to avoid terminating the current convention status until the association votes for a reform the governance, a vision for the FIS and a road map for the transition team.

What would be the goal of such resolution?

The goal would be to keep some of the existing safeguards in the convention until the transition has been implemented. We hope that these two resolutions will be debated and confirmed with a simple majority vote and not legal tricks with a 75% qualified majority. We are currently working on this.

What about the e-consultation between May 13th and 15th?

The board itself mentions it in its email: this e-consultation has no legal value.

However, the e-consultation has a political value since the parents and the candidates to the board’s vacant seats will be legally bounded when the board decides and approves the result of this consultation at its May 16th meeting. We should remember that any decision by the board can only be rescinded by a 75% vote at a General Assembly…

Are you concerned about the transparency of this e-consultation?

We are particularly careful that this e-consultation is conducted with a tried and tested voting system and that this system is certified by a non-partisan agency. This should come on top of the results of the vote itself which will indeed be certified by an independent external agency with enough relevant experience.

Besides, it is regrettable that the vote results will be disclosed on the same day (May 16th) as the closing date for the applications to the vacant FIS board seats. We hope a day will be enough for a few candidates to step out…

What do you actually want?  

We would like to inform parents about the stakes, that is, the risks, advantages and drawbacks of the new convention versus a change to a partnership model.

We would like to get the balance right and present the other side of the story besides the one told by the board that is clearly biased towards the partnership model.

We also would like the board to reverse to the initial calendar so that the resolutions we introduced on April 11th can be debated in the original spirit and not be perceived by the board as delaying tactics from our side. As opposed to what the board communicated, LFI Action did not initiate any of the calendar change.

What if you are not vindicated?

We think that parents should vote for the new convention (existing model) as this would be the wisest choice. This will enable the community to resume an open dialogue.

To resume an open dialogue…you actually managed to do this at this public event on May-02nd where over 200 people came to hear what LFI Action had to say…

Many parents had urged us to organize such a public debate between parties with different views so that people can form their own opinion.

Ever since the start of the board’s “campaign”, wrong or contradictory information has been circulating and has had a divisive impact on the community…

This is why we had invited three weeks before May-02nd a few key stakeholders of the FIS community to come to our event for a friendly debate. Those were parents, representative parents and delegates, the FIS principals and education senior staff, associations of French living abroad, consular advisors, the Consul General, the regional coordinator of the AEFE and obviously the board.

All accepted the invitation but the board and its president M. Brunet-Moret declined and told us that the Blue Pool Road facilities were not suitable for a public meeting…

Despite our limited resources and on such a short notice, we could make it thanks to the FIS management, who opened up the school for us and thanks to the help of our members, who organized this big event!

Questions were collected through our blog and representative parents. After the event date was confirmed, we used social media, the word of mouth and our website to call on as many parents as possible.

Is this rejection by the board and its president of a direct and face-to-face dialogue a certain disregard of as well as a lack of courage towards the FIS community?

It is up to the president of the board to answer this question. We nevertheless regret very much that he refused to participate to an open debate . It was a unique opportunity for him and the board members to explain their recommendations to the parents and the teachers in the presence of the entire education management board of the FIS, the Consul General and the AEFE, partners of FIS for many years.

What are your conclusions about this debate?

We provided answers to parents’ real desire to be informed, which may have been underestimated by the board at their town hall meetings and so-called “consultations”.

We would say that this issue is complex and that all parties involved have their share of responsibilities in the current situation. Our community has the capacity for debates and innovation, that we must trust the FIS teachers and staff and give them all the support they need to achieve their goals; hence, the governance and the status of AEFE involvement should be reviewed in order to properly steer the future of FIS.  

Most importantly, the majority of the parents are proud of FIS even though it is not perfect and a lot remains to be done to make it more attractive.

Do you think you have enough information to build an opinion about the status change recommended by the board?

At this stage, we believe we are making the most relevant choice given the (partial) view of the situation and the challenges we have identified.


To us and to calm things down, we believe it to be the wisest to follow 13 of 14 French Lycées in Asia, who are in a similar situation since 2015, that is, we should support a renewal of the convention.

To us, this seems the only option for FIS given its governance system, its current status and the complexity of being Hong Kong.  Signing a new convention will enable the school and its members to craft a collective and thought-out strategy for FIS future while ensuring that the education team of the school remains independent.

This last point is very important because this team of education experts has the skills and the daily task to implement this strategy. Today, it is obviously necessary to calm things down and bring everybody together for a less uncertain future.

If more radical changes were truly necessary, we could still change at a future date. However, let’s not forget that if we change to a partnership with the AEFE, there will be no way back. This was reminded and explained by the Consul General and the head of the AEFE at the May-02nd event.

Which points are still missing in order to make an informed decision?

Unfortunately, the board does not have a clear strategic vision. It only offers a list of good intentions such as “an innovative school, …a caring school, …to leverage on the strengths of the FIS…”. These intentions are welcomed but they are unfortunately very vague and do not request any change to a partnership model they recommend.

Is there a problem with the method?

Basically, we believe that the method employed by the board is wrong. We should have started by defining this vision collectively in a spirit of consensus. This vision would have guided our choices in terms of governance and our relationship with AEFE.

As of today, we have no clue where the board wants to lead us.

We also would like to understand the reason why the board stopped negotiating with AEFE. As a matter of fact, AEFE has made many compromises, especially regarding the local situation of the school and the language policy.

As of next year, the OIB syllabus will be offered to the Primary section. Its true that the process might be slow but the institutions are listening to the parents.

We also believe that parents wanted to hear more what teachers had to say about this. Having said that, we decided not to expose them more to this debate. Some of them had already showed a strong commitment by participating to an open letter and a common statement.

One thing is sure, the school enjoys a high degree of recognition and the children are happy to study here. Making a choice in a rush to change the relationship with AEFE to a distant one is a risk that will jeopardize the current situation against non-proven benefits…

What do you request from the board?

We want the board to play its management role and respect the entire community through transparent communication that does not exceed its mandate.

We also want the board to open up and realize this is not the time to force a decision but bring together the community behind the school. Lastly, we want to work together at a satisfying solution for the common good.

What’s next for LFI Action?

We will continue to inform parents with objective facts until the vote takes place. We will also assume our responsibilities as part of the community.

We are basically neither pro-convention nor anti-partnership but we believe that the debate did not happen in an objective and neutral manner.

We understand and respect the fact that it took time for the board to come up with this project. However, it seems that the democratic process and the right of the community to respond is not respected. Although our resources are limited, we will go on and work for the good of the parents who support us and the values of the community.

These past few weeks helped parents to better understand how the school works and to be more involved. We hope that this will continue for the good of the school and each of our children. If parents ask us to go along with this movement and lead it into concrete action, we will listen to them.  

Letter from AEFE – 13 May 2019

Please read below a letter from Olivier Brochet, AEFE Director. It is also available through Engage.

—> Link to the letter <—

In a nutshell, Mr Olivier Brochet re-specifies important points of the past negotiation to renew the Convention, and clarifies who defined the reporting structure for International Stream.

In particular:
“ The Board wanted to limit the responsibility of the Headmaster to the French stream, and requested that the Head of the International stream reported directly to “the managing body or its representative”. “



In a nutshell, Mr Olivier Brochet re-specifies important points of the past negotiation to renew the Convention, and clarifies who defined the reporting structure for International Stream.

He specifies:
“ The Board wanted to limit the responsibility of the Headmaster to the French stream, and requested that the Head of the International stream reported directly to “the managing body or its representative”. “

Let’s talk about our kids! by Luc Moulin

Find below a post by Luc Moulin, guest contributor. Luc was one of the moderators for the BPR meeting on may 2. His contribution was appreciated by all and we thank him again for that and for this federating message.

Please check lfiaction.com as we are now also posting bilingual documents.

A few hours before the vote, but most importantly a few weeks before some of our kid’s final exams, after all this debate, my main thought is for them, our kids, all of them!

My thought goes to this small group of super talented students, who have worked so hard, will get top marks and will join some of the best universities around the world. They will make me proud for their contribution to continue building our excellent school academic reputation. Proud of this school, that has given them the right environment to pursue their dreams in this hard and brave direction. And also proud that these most brilliant kids, thanks to our school, have gone through these years of successes while giving them the opportunity grow, live and share with different kids.

My though also goes to an other minority, all these other kids who, for many years, did not have the capacity or the ambition to follow the same path. These smart kids who have gone through years of difficulties, having bad marks regularly, asking themselves a lot of questions about their future and having a lot of frustration while building their own personality. They will make me very proud of our school thanks to whom they will also have the opportunity to celebrate with their friends and be proud of successfully pass an important step of their young life. I am proud of our school that has accompanied them without threatening them to be expelled and has found the way to give them the confidence to build their personality and demonstrate that they can do it!

Finally I am also thinking of the largest kids population, the one in the middle of this two minorities, who will also get good or very scores at their exams and will also join universities all around the globe.  Many of them have gone through their path without really knowing what they want for their future, but I am proud that they got the opportunity to evolve in a diverse and rich environment. They have seen and lived with friends with different profiles, nationalities, ambitions and results. I am proud that they did not have to say goodbye to this friend who despite that he always had the lowest marks has never been judged by the school of not being good enough for the group. I am proud of this school that manages to integrate until the end this friend who was a great DJ or was spending all his time at another passion, or just never managed to be passionate by Mathematics or Chinese learning,

This School that I am so proud of is our French International School in Hong Kong!

A fantastic school that has constantly evolved over time.

A top school that has grown extremely fast recently, welcoming an always-larger diversity of kids and offering the choice of two different streams.

A school that every year welcomes kids who are starting a  2-3 years journey in Hong Kong, ensuring the continuity of their chosen curriculum and a smooth transition when they will go back to France or move to another country.

A school with this so unique competitive advantage to be deeply anchored in the French culture and strongly supported by the French authority.

I strongly believe this is the result of a lot of work from our fantastic academic and non academic team, who is also diverse, but still tries to work as one team in the best interest of the kids.

I also strongly believe it is the result of a system that gives to the parents and their representatives a strong power to define the school strategy and vision, while also giving them the capacity to work closely with the academic team. 

But, also a system that is clearly respecting the independence of the education experts, the headmasters and their teams. This independence so absolutely critical to make sure decisions in this area are made in the best interest of ALL the kids and not under the influence of some naturally emotional parents.

I finally strongly believe that today, in our current environment, the only system to give us a strong Board, who will continue to develop and modernise our fantastic school, and a contractual guaranty of the pedagogical independence and the France anchorage and support, is the convention with AEFE.

Therefore, 

I will  vote NO, to the Board recommendation to move to the PARTENARIAT.

I will vote YES to the choice of the CONVENTION and its new updated version



Open letter to the board – 12 may 2019

English translation.

Dear members of the Board,

With less than 18 hours before the beginning of the electronic consultation, we are still to receive the necessary information to reassure parents on the smooth process, whichever way they decide to vote. The choice we are about to make will drive FIS’s future for years to come and will be irreversible if partnership is adopted. For the stability and the future of the school, it is crucial that the result of this consultation can be recognised and accepted by everyone.

The Board campaigned with conviction but without granting time parents who wanted a constructive dialog and a bilateral debate. On multiple occasions, the Board rejected the principle to promote dialog: tentative to block the meeting at BPR on May 2nd, refusal to participate despite a sincere invitation, refusal to distribute the minutes of this meeting, pressure on the relay parents not to distribute information, denigration of the results of the teachers’ poll.

The Board uses the communication tools from FIS for its campaign whose spending would already be close to HKD 500,000. If it is legitimate that the Board communicates via Engage and email, it would have been normal to expect a minimum of reciprocity and respect of the democratic rules.

After having tried to decide unilaterally on the subject, the Board has continued to deprive the members of their rightly debate and direct decision by implementing a binding consultation on one of the most important decision of the last 20 years for the school and FIS.

In its mail from May 7th and during the webinar from May 9th, the Board explains that this consultation does not fit within a legal framework. Let’s not forget that it will have legal consequences as the Board will ratify the result on May 16th.

Therefore, it is imperative that the process is irreproachable. To this day, nothing has been communicated on the procedure and the code of consultation which is normally attached to any significant vote.

We are requesting the distribution of the consultation rules and at least, the following guarantees in order that everyone is sure that the process will be implemented properly:

  • Auditor’s name
  • Communication by the auditor of the measures taken to guarantee a vote following democratic principles
  • What aspects of the consultation will be validated? The results? The process?  The following points?
  • Who will be the true operator of the consultation?
  • How do you guarantee that everyone can vote. Some parents have yet to receive information.
  • Random generation of a password guaranteeing that only the recipient of the email can vote.
  • Setup of a hotline in case of technical difficulty on the consultation
  • Management of debentures numbers errors.
  • Explicit agreement that there will not be a campaign organised by the Board (via emails or Engage) during the consultation
  • Prohibition that the Board interacts with the voters during the consultation
  • Prohibition that the Board members use social networks on the consultation topic
  • No information on the current results can be communicated to any party (Board, teachers, AEFE, headmaster, consul…) during the voting period and until the final results.
  • Guarantee of anonymity to the voters
  • Starting Time and End time of the consultations
  • Independant and accredited observers
  • What are the measures to guarantee the proper counting?
  • Presence of a bailiff
  • Exact communication on the date and time of the results publications.
  • Confirmation they will be announced by the auditor.
  • How will they be presented? Number of registered voters? Cast vote? Null Vote (is it possible)? – Vote for the new convention – vote for partnership?
  • Will results be also reported by Section (French, International) and by debentures nature (Corporate or private)
  • Will this information be made public?

All these questions were asked directly or indirectly during the two webinars and during Saturday morning meeting in Jardine’s without satisfying answers. There is still time, but soon running out, to guarantee that everyone can vote in the best conditions.

This letter was signed by 12 parents and sent by email to the board

.

Second Webinar and Teacher’s Poll – 9 May 2019

The main lesson from yesterday’s webinar was that the move from Convention to Partenariat went well in the London case because everyone involved wanted it to be a success: the AEFE, the Ambassy, the teachers, the school direction and the Parents (even the kids!). 
Here in Hong Kong the situation is quite different: 
– The AEFE does not recommend it. Mr. Negrel was very clear yesterday. 
– The Consul General is agnostic but suggests there are some issues to solve first with the school governance.
– The Teachers have just released a poll where they express at 85% that Convention is better suited and that the AEFE relationship isn’t the main problem (see below). 
– The Parents are divided and the fracture grows bigger every day
– The Board was not elected to conduct that change and is now embarked in a spending frenzy for their campaign. 
– Furthermore, we have to implement the New Baccalaureat for 2020, renovate Jardines’ finish TKO, etc

The Partenariat may be the greatest solution for the Hong Kong LFI’s future but maybe that conditions are not being met for a rushed move now. It’s a bit like insisting to go out at sea with Typhoon 8 being hoisted because you have a great boat and think you are an expert navigator. 


What on Earth is Going On?


Also, find below a Poll that the Teachers have conducted among themselves:

—-> Teacher’s Poll – 10 May 2019 <—-

Minutes of the BPR meeting on May 2

Please find attached the minutes of the 2 May meeting with the French General Consul, the AEFE representative and the FIS heads. With limited means, we have transcribed as much as possible the content of the discussions. The minutes have been declared as faithful by the speakers.
Please note that M. Le Consul was kind enough to provide his written speech which we have translated below (please refer to the original text in French for clarification).
If there is any mistake, please forgive us. We would appreciate your kindness and understanding that any mistakes or typos is ours and involuntary.
Leave comments or drop us a mail if needed.
We hope to have been thorough enough and would like to thank all the attendees, the speakers and the 2 moderators for their contribution to the current debate.

—-> The minutes are available on this link <—-

Synthesis – 6 May 2019

Summary

High Risks of Moving to Partnership:

  • Loss of competent and experienced teachers. Homologation will depend on our educational practices and is not guaranteed.
  • Significant financial risks related to transition costs, loss of AEFE contractual support and uncertainties related to the costs of excellence advocated.
  • Middle-term diplomatic risks with the FIS acting as a private entity in its negotiations and risks for FIS strong-reputation.

Unproven Benefits:

  • Competencies of the headmaster to lead French and International sections, in compliance with the rules of homologation (FF) and accreditation (FI), recruited by the board of directors with no qualifications in the matter.
  • Equivalent cost for FIS during transition and lack of impact analysis of level of tuition fees beyond 2020.
  • Increased flexibility of the pedagogical project: consultation of the parents will be bounded by the rules of the homologation in the complex context of the FIS HK (4 sites, 2 channels, several sections in FF).
  • The homogenization of contracts proposed to resolve tensions within the teaching profession will not solve the problems of human relationship that exist in any company. (see letter of the 75 teachers).

Board Methods’ open to criticism:

  • Initial intention of the board of directors to force a unilateral decision in February. It was only under the pressure of the petition led by parents that the board of directors decided to submit this decision to the vote of parents during General Meeting on May 23rd.
  • Legality and legitimacy of the electronic consultation of May 13-15 which bypasses the debate at the General Meeting on May 23rd.
  • Refusal to debate in forum and opacity on the costs related to the pro-partnership campaign.

The Board of Directors of FIS Victor Segalen recommended on 4 April 2019 to change the relationship with the AEFE, to leave the system of convention established since 1991 and to move to a system of partnership (ie. a complete privatization of the FIS). Following the Webinar organized by the Board of Directors on April 30th and the BPR meeting on May 2nd organized by the LFI Action Group, here is the position of the parents of the LFI Action group behind the petition of March 19th, 2019: Our goal remains to inform parents so that they make an informed choice on their own. The current situation and our analysis of the documents communicated by the Board of Directors oblige us to underline the following points:

The risks are high:

  • No strategic vision stated by the board of directors. Without strategic vision, there is no school project – so no educational roadmap – possible for high school, nor a way to evaluate the performance of the Head of School and his team. The transition to the partnership would mobilize a large part of the resources over the next 15 months, thus delaying the clarification of the strategic line.
  • A single experience of genuine move from convention to partnership in the AEFE network (i). The change of a school of the size and profile of the FIS, enrolling a majority of French children, has never been realized.
  • A backward step impossible in case of change to partnership. The means made available to the LFI under a convention will be redistributed within AEFE or even removed (ii).
  • Probable departures of qualified teachers during the 2020-2021 school year, sometimes for technical reasons (iii). And given the proportion of resident teachers in exam classes (70%), student preparation for the new 2021 Baccalaureate will be affected.
  • A change of status project that gives all power to the Board of Directors without guarantee of pedagogical independence, opening the door to abuse of power, clientelism and micro-management by the Board already reported by the staff through the IPSOS survey.
  • A risk of loss of homologation in the medium or long term (a) If the criteria are identical whatever the status of the institutions, the more distorted links between AEFE / MEN and the establishment make it more difficult to meet the criteria for certification (principal’s course, ratio of national education teachers, conformity to programs, proportion of French pupils). (b) Risk also related to non-compliance with governance rules (Victor Segalen Council that the Board of Directors would like to submit to its control).
  • High financial risks (lack of communication of a financial plan, partial assessment of the transition costs of 8.7 million HKD, consulting firms’ interventions). Large sums not benefiting to the school have already been committed for the campaign (consulting, webinars).
  • Less diplomatic leverage with local authorities, with the school acting as a private entity in its negotiations. The Chairman of the Board of Directors being the only interlocutor of the local authorities.

The benefits are not demonstrated for the school and its students:

  • Greater listening to specific expectations of parents in pedagogy. Non-satisfied parents on pedagogy do not have guarantee that the partnership Headmaster will follow their expectations. Many educational choices are the decision of the governing board and not the AEFE or the Ministry of National Education (MEN). They are therefore independent of the partnership / convention status. This is particularly true for the establishment or removal of level groups in language learning and skills assessment (iv).
  • Quality in the recruiting, appointing and evaluating a Head of school for a contained cost
  • Homogenization of teacher evaluation criteria is not demonstrated even if they will have local contracts. Moreover, other tensions will arise between those who have obtained a detachment and those who have not had it.
  • No financial benefits for FIS members. We will continue on best hypothesis on the same trend of rising costs

The methods used by the Board of Directors to implement its project are open to criticism:

  • The decision was originally to be ratified by a vote of the Board of Directors, without consultation of the parents.
  • Refusal of contradictory debate, despite our multiple requests issued since March and our invitation to the meeting of May 2nd.
  • Lack of consultation of all parents, and unilateral communication with parents and representatives, without possibility of debate (“workshops” and “consultations” which only bear the name)
  • A partial analysis of the situation based on an Ipsos poll with a low participation rate and the purpose of which was not clearly stated to the participants (questionable representative character).
  • Absence of objective analysis strengths / weaknesses / risks / opportunities of both options.
  • A summary financial analysis, insufficient to accept or refute the assumptions used.
  • No communication to date with all teachers and staff presenting them the 2 possible alternatives and the analysis of each.
  • Propagation of fake news, especially on teacher tensions related to differences in status. FIS satisfied parents have never been given the floor to say for the ones looking for improvement in the current setting, rather than an in-depth overhaul of the high school that affects children.
  • Regular and ad-hoc change of the calendar and the methods of consultation and voting.
  • Refusal to share some of the information requested, including minutes of board meetings and the costs of consulting and campaigns to convince parents.
  • Asymmetrical and divisive information: example of the communication specific to the international section of April 10 denigrating French officials divides the school by antagonizing the two sections.

CONCLUSION: The transition to partnership exposes us to significant risks for uncertain benefits while the new convention is a continuation and offers a better answer to the challenges awaiting the FIS:

  • The new convention guarantees the independence of pedagogy, while satisfying most of the recommendations of the board of directors: greater educational flexibility, alignment of the job description of the head of school, its roadmap and the assessment of its objectives all decided in consultation with the Board of Directors. This without exposing students to the operational risks of a transformation never experienced by an institution of our size.
  • It does not lead to higher tuition fees. The reserves created following the 8% increase in tuition fees over 3 consecutive years for the development of campuses, must be preserved rather than used for exceptional expenses related to the transition to the partnership (HKD 8.7 Million).
  • The priority must be a more consensual definition of the school’s strategy, an increased dialogue between its actors and a re-thinking of governance that will allow us to approach the future in a peaceful and concerted manner.

i. Calgary, less than 400 students. The CBFL (homologated up to college only) initiated by the AEFE from the opening of the school for a technical reason so not comparable to FIS.

ii. The transition to the partnership was initiated by the AEFE for a technical reason (* 1) related to the fact that the contribution of funds comes from a trust – The Board is composed of 6 trustees having participated in the fund raising + 6 elected parents)

iii. See the minutes of the May 2nd meeting.

iv. If there is a transition in partnership, resident professors have only two options:

a. enter into a local contract after asking to be on suspended contact with the French national education contract, which is automatic granted for spouse geographical mobility

b. Return to their home academy and ask for a direct detachment, more and more difficult to obtain because of the lack of teachers in France.

v. https://www.education.gouv.fr/pid285/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=97270