Head Office have no idea what makes a good manager. How could they? Mariam and Ashley were both unsuccessful managers themselves. When Mariam was manager of TBI Sudirman, the school was a loss-making failure. She had no organisational skills and the schedule was a shambles. Unbelievably, she was promoted from that dismal start to become TBI Director a couple of years later. Why? Her in-laws are on the board of USG and nepotism secured her a job. Her rise to the position of TBI Director was the beginning of the sharp decline. It has been rotating chairs ever since, with managers scapegoated periodically for the failures of this clueless former dancer and batik-seller.
Ashley Platts was also a flop. Before TBI Kuningan their main office was at TBI Setiabudi. TBI Setiabudi always had around 800 students and Platts was in charge of the transfer to the new premises. He completely mismanaged the move and throughout 2007, the year after the move, it often had 500 and something students. Platts had lost around 1/3 of all students in the botched transfer. A close crony of Mariam, he now lectures others about KPIs (key performance indicators). His own 2007 KPI of -35% growth in student numbers tells you all you need to know about this charlatan. He also, notoriously, appointed a former (and present) truck driver, Chris Needham, to lead all 3 Jakarta group schools. Needham failed so badly he was fired from all 3 schools at once and ended his days back as a TBI teacher. Platt’s protege had faked data, lied about results and led TBI Fatmawati to huge losses. How can someone who decimated student numbers and promoted Needham three times claim to know anything? But this is the “business knowhow” which runs the sinking ship that is TBI.
In a sure sign of how low standards are sinking, TBI Head Office has now promoted a 20 something former waitress and restaurant supervisor called Anita Pasaribu to run TBI Kelapa Gading. This is in the wake of Ashley’s latest gaffe: recommending that Nunu, a pampered Indonesian with a record of chronic absenteeism and no qualifications at all in the field of TEFL or education, should lead TBI Kelapa Gading. Like so many of Platts’ former picks, Nunu was a debacle, causing student numbers and hence revenue to plummet and every former expat teacher to leave. So in her place is now Anita Pasaribu, who we will talk much more about in the coming days.
But first things first. When Cam was managing a TBI school, she worked for him. He enrolled her in a class to do Pre-Intermediate Cutting Edge Level 3. Now she may have done a couple of levels since then, but we are talking about someone who has at best Intermediate English skills. Half of TBI’s General English students would have better English than this school manager. I will publish some of her emails in the coming days, and you will notice she is making half a dozen or more mistakes in some paragraphs. Basically, TBI is now employing former secretaries with no TEFL qualifications whatsoever as school managers. She can’t write properly in English, but hey, she is cheap! They can probably get away with paying her Rp 5 million or so a month, so what a bargain! As we have been showing over and over again, standards are lower than EF now. And this may be a grave insult to EF. I doubt they would dream of hiring her. The race to the bottom is proceeding apace.