A School that was founded on the principles of friendship and service to Vietnam would first receive a helping hand from local teachers in order to carry out their ambitious mission.
A School that was founded on the principles of friendship and service to Vietnam would first receive a helping hand from local teachers in order to carry out its ambitious mission.
UNIS Hanoi famously began lessons in three classrooms located at the Hanoi Amsterdam School. But it wasn’t just a campus the two schools shared, it was teachers too. Teachers such as Dao Thien Khai, a former Headmaster of Hanoi Amsterdam School.
In 1988, as UNIS Hanoi’s first math teacher, Mr Khai would spend half of his day teaching a class of five foreign students, before striding across the expansive school campus to teach the same subject, but to 30 Vietnamese high school students.
Thankfully, as Mr Khai pointedly remarked, ‘math is universal’, thus teaching the subject to non-Vietnamese students was not a problem for him. However, he continued, “Teaching in English was new to me and it took time for me to learn how to do so. I remember visiting the library in my spare time and reading the book, ‘Mathematical Dictionary for Schools’ and learning from it.”
Intrigued by the new international school, Mr Khai enjoyed shuttling between the two distinct education systems, something he did for one year. He explained, “I was interested in understanding the model of education at UNIS Hanoi.” And Mr Khai wasn’t the only one. He revealed, “At the time, there were three other part time teachers who were Vietnamese - Madam Lien, Ms Ly and Mr Thong. We all enjoyed our time at UNIS Hanoi, but for me, working in two different schools was too much, so I had to give up the teaching at UNIS Hanoi after a year.”
Continuing his career at Hanoi Amsterdam School, Mr Khai rose up the ranks to become its Headmaster, enjoying good relationships with the faculty at UNIS Hanoi. So much so, that when UNIS Hanoi grew in size and administrators were looking for new staff, Mr Khai encouraged his daughter, Dao Huong to apply for a position. She has worked at UNIS Hanoi ever since.
Now 80 years old and retired and still living just a short drive away from UNIS Hanoi’s Ciputra campus, the octogenarian math master remains heartened by the School’s achievements, thirty years on.