Students complaints on rise

    June 18th 2010, 20:50pm - Posted by Administrator

  • A recently published article in the guardian shed light on the rising students complaints against universities and how students grew more conscious of the quality of education they receive in universities as the tuition fee increased.

    The article quoted an incident when 43 old Shelly Maxwell decided to go back to university despite of her narcolepsy condition which did not allow her to stay awake longer than 8 hours a day. Miss Maxwell began with GCSE and then after doing an access course she was offered a place to study contemporary military and international history by Salford University.  As Miss Maxwell began taking classes the real challenge came across her. She was not able to stay awake through out the class nor she was able to able to stay awake long enough to transcribe the recorded lectures. She tried a few more methods to keep with the class material but nothing produced her results for one reason or other. Eventually, Miss Maxwell lodged a complaint against her university. The university tried to work out a solution for her but then it became too late for her to try anything new. Finally, the university offered Miss Maxwell to study at no cost next year and repeat her academic year, but she decided to end her educational journey with no plans to return. The office of the Independent Adjudicator(OIA) listened to the case and found the complaint partially valid and awarded  £2,500 to Miss Maxwell, criticizing Salford with recommendations to review its procedures for disable students. The situation Miss Maxwell encountered many not occur very often, but there is a huge number of disable students who have to face similar situations through out their degree courses in universities.

    According to data, students complaints to the OIA rose by 12% during 2008 and 2009.  The watchdog(OIA) says that a more assertive student population and economic stress has burgeoned the number of student complaints with OIA. The hanging sword of higher tuition fees on students’ head has made them realize the value of their degrees. The body says that the real number of dissatisfied students could be much higher than 1,007 who registered their grievances with OIA last year.  The OIA’s chief executive makes a prediction of a bigger number of students coming to OIA in future.

    The president of Universities UK, Steve Smith, the umbrella group of vice-chancellors, contradicts that the situation is as not as bad painted by OIA. He argues that in spite of valid complaints by students, the number of complaints by students against their universities has dipped which shows that universities have changed their procedures to address students’ concerns.

    However,  OIA’s chief executive, Behrens criticizes universities for excessive delays in processing the inquiries on the students complaints forwarded by OIA.  The National Union of Students threw its weight behind the student complaints as well. The president, Aaron Porter said that universities must do more to raise the quality of their services before demanding for higher fees.

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