Just a shortish weekend post to clear up a point that could be easily misconstrued. In this post I would like to address the scope of corruption within TBI (The British Institute) in general, and comment on the extent of teacher complicity specifically. We have addressed this issue indirectly in innumerable posts, but it is probably worth spelling it out clearly here.
In summary, the TBI Mafia (those actively and knowingly involved in collusion and corruption) is small. We have never claimed that this is a broad, all-encompassing conspiracy. It is focused on a small number of managers clustered right at the centre of the organization. In a diagram from last year we included the centre of this conspiracy as involving just five people: Mariam Kartikatresni, Luke Preece, Reza Suriansha, Ashley Platts and Lilies Agustin. Most of the other people who have featured regularly in this blog have been sought out and corrupted by Luke Preece. For example, Luke Preece gave large raises and other perks to Minnie, Matthew, Nicola, Niah and probably a few others in exchange for favors. Notably every single teacher who Luke brought from Bandung to Jakarta with him turned bad and started being uncooperative, petty and even vindictive towards managers who were enemies of Luke. But these teachers were probably played by Luke- they did not know the whole of the conspiracy at any point (I would suggest) but were narrowly focused on what was in it for them. They were more tools or stooges of a sociopath than active perpetrators of wrongdoing.
In my experience, most teachers who worked for TBI in the days before this blog didn’t even know Mariam’s name. A full-blown narcissist, she thought that “lowly teachers” were beneath her attention and she treated them all with absolute indifference. She didn’t know the names of most of the teachers at Kuningan let alone the small franchise schools. The teachers are almost entirely innocent of the corrupt antics of their supervisors. Probably 95% of teachers have never been involved in one of Lukey’s wicked schemes. They have long been in the dark.
How Did We Learn So Much?
The reason we know so much more than the teachers is because C** managed 2 central Jakarta schools. He was either Actel of School Manager at Kuningan over a 3 year period. Even more essentially he became the confidant of Luke (to an extent) and Luke vented about how useless and corrupt Mariam and Ning were (while never directly admitting his own complicity.)
At the same time I managed a franchise school from 2009 to early 2012. This gave us an unusually broad range of sources. I would hear things from franchise managers and the owners which were never breathed at Head Office, and C** heard things which Mariam would never have wanted franchise owners to know. By comparing notes, we became ever more conscious of how much bullshit was being thrown about in this company. For example we learned that the advertising which Mariam was boasting about to franchise owners (and demanding money to pay for) was actually obtained as a freebie. With each passing month we seemed to uncover more lies about The Bullshit Institute. It wasn’t until the end of 2011, however, that we learned how evil Luke was. Once we had this crucial piece of the puzzle, everything else started making a lot more sense.
In conclusion, the TBI Mafia was good at hiding its secrets. It was only after several years comparing notes and compiling information that we learned the full extent of the corruption, collusion and nepotism in which it was engaged. Most teachers were kept completely “out of the loop” and were regarded as nothing more than “bule money-makers” by the Indonesian Senior Management. The Indonesian teachers, filled in on the truth by gossip and rumor networks, seemed to know a lot more, but they were rarely directly involved. The TBI teachers, both Indonesian and expat, have been largely innocent of the corruption that is the bread and butter of their bosses’ working lives.