American Embassy school in trouble as teachers leave

The American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi has landed in trouble, as many of its teachers had to leave after the Indian government declined to renew their visas in the wake of alleged violations of local laws by the institution and some of its employees.

Paul Chmelik, the director of the American Embassy School, recently admitted in a note that the premier institution was going through challenging times.

“Via messages from the principals, many of you are now aware that the departure of faculty members due to visa renewal issues has begun. Such departures may continue during the days ahead until a resolution to the issues are orchestrated by high-level diplomatic discussions that are taking place between the Government of India and the US Government,” Chmelik wrote in his community note on March 28 last.

Chmelik did not specify how many teachers had left after the Indian government declined to renew their visas. Sources, however, said that nearly 20 teachers had to leave over the past few weeks.

 The AES, located on the Chandragupta Marg, adjacent to the US Embassy has about 1,500 students from nursery to 12th grade. About 35 per cent of them are Americans, while the rest are nationals of over 50 other countries. Most of the students are children of employees of the US and other countries’ embassies, local units of international organisations, global non-governmental organisations and executives of multinational companies.

The Ministry of External Affairs put the school under scanner after India and US engaged in a bitter diplomatic row in the wake of the arrest of Indian Foreign Service officer Devyani Khobragade in New York on December 12.

Chmelik noted that the school’s Board of Governors and the administrative team had been “working very hard the past three months” to ensure that the AES continued to “function in a stellar fashion”. The “past three months” in the AES director’s note apparently refers to the period that commenced after the Ministry of External Affairs asked for the visa status and salary details of all foreign employees of the AES.

“Now, you and your students are beginning to be impacted by the events that began back in December. Please know the principals will keep you posted should the potential absence of a teacher or counselor impact your student’s life at school,” he wrote in “Director’s Community Note” posted on the website of the AES.

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