The whole saga of Rumah Bahasa and Frendy Horas not only raises questions about the ethics of this particular business, but also DIKNAS as well. As time has gone on, more and more people have been asking how such a blatantly dishonest and disreputable business has been able to establish itself in Jakarta without facing any scrutiny from regulators. We know that teachers, staff and customers have all reported RB (Rumah Bahasa) to authorities but so far nothing has happened. For example, one customer contacted DIKNAS about Rumah Bahasa Bintaro and told them that they have been waiting for a course to open since November. The course hasn’t opened after 3 months or more and RB is still refusing to give a refund. Strangely for an organization which purports to care about the quality of the educational institutes in Indonesia, DIKNAS has failed to reply at all. DIKNAS’s failure to act in the case of RB has made many people question the integrity of the whole government department.
In recent years, DIKNAS has controversially tightened regulations of the TEFL industry in Indonesia, creating a set of regulations which are arguably the strictest in Asia. On paper, only teachers with a Degree in English plus five years’ teaching experience can be employed as a Native Speaker teacher in Indonesia. These tight new regulations have caused huge headaches for many schools. Wall Street Indonesia (WSI) has complied with the regulations but they have increased their salaries for English teachers by around 5 million rupiah per month to do so. WSI now pays Native Speaker teachers with the right degree around Rp 17 million. These regulations are costing legal schools very large sums to comply with. Yet questions are now being asked about DIKNAS’s intentions. If they are really serious about lifting standards, how can a cowboy school like RB stay in business? We know many of RB”s teachers are completely unqualified. How do they get away with it?
This question has been raised on Dave’s ESL Cafe. Regular user “Tazz” has made the following comment on a thread about Rumah Bahasa:
So another example of a bunch of Indonesian cowboys setting up a dubious education establishment in a Ruko and screwing both customers and employees…….doubt it will last long if your description is accurate-sounds like a ‘hit and run’ operation. Anybody who accepts full-time employment working on a tourist visa-with no promise of sponsorship/ kitas being arranged by the employer can’t really complain when they get collared by immigration.
Tazz is presuming that a school who only hires teachers on a tourist visa must be a “hit and run operation” in a ruko (a shophouse). It is understandable that he would think this. Anyone trying to go “beneath the radar” would probably hire a cheap premises, take the money and run. But this is not really the case with Rumah Bahasa. They have modern facilities and their businesses are located in a mall. See the photo below. This is not a “fly by night” operation. So how are they able to run a business (that is not even a PT.) in a very prominent location without ever getting in trouble with DIKNAS or Immigration? When DIKNAS are informed of scams, lies and illegal teachers at RB, they don’t return the calls. They claim to be interested in improving educational standards in Indonesia, but RB has no problems or raids from authorities. Hmmm.
The obvious conclusion is that DIKNAS and Immigration are being bribed not to investigate RB. RB is paying bribes (uang suap) to keep the authorities away from their business. If there is another explanation for how RB is able to get away with employing ao many illegal foreigners, we would love to hear it. In the meantime, the smart money is on bribery. DIKNAS are getting rich off this “cowboy school”. RB is exposing the whole DIKNAS regulatory scheme as a money-making scam. Customers, teachers and staff are advised to stay clear of this dubious, tainted business.