I believe this is the first example of a US boarding school setting up a branch campus in Viet Nam. Marianapolis Preparatory School, a Catholic boarding school in Thompson, Connecticut, has forged a partnership with Nguyen Hoang Group to establish the SNA Marianapolis International School. Located on a 7-acre (2.83 hectare) campus, it is the first 100% international school in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, about an hour’s drive from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The school has a capacity of up to 900 students. The NH Group describes itself as a “world-class international education service provider” with a nationwide network of different types of schools and four (4) universities.
The cost for the boarding option is actually less than what a number of international day schools in Viet Nam charge. The tuition for grades 10-12 is 393 million VND, which amounts to $17,043. Boarding students pay 100 million ($4,337) for Monday-Friday and 130 million ($5,637) for the entire week. Adding the cost of meals for 6th to 12th graders ($1464) the total cost per year for a full-time boarding high school student would be $24,144.
Of special interest is the fact that the English version of school’s website has references to “faith expressions”, “enhancing the spiritual and moral life of the Marianapolis community as a whole”, and “Catholic education”. On the same page, even the file name is “catholic-education.” This is unprecedented in Viet Nam’s secular education system in which only Catholic kindergartens are permitted. I have yet to find the same references on the Vietnamese site. Perhaps it’s an official “nod and a wink” compromise. At any rate, having a Catholic affiliation is a selling point in southern Viet Nam, where many of the nation’s 7 million Catholics, just over 7% of the population, reside.
This is a win-win partnership during the COVID era and beyond. It gives Marianapolis a long-term in country presence and is a jewel in the crown of NHG’s K-12 portfolio. Given the Marianapolis Preparatory School’s accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASAC), the gold standard of institutional accreditation in the US, it’s a perfect example of honor by association. The SNA Marianapolis International School gives Vietnamese parents of means and their children yet another option from which to choose. The latter can study and transfer, or graduate and then study overseas. The best of both worlds.
Shalom (שלום), MAA