Student Complaints – Finding a balance in the new H.E. consumer world.

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The article linked below shows an increase in student complaints. What can/should Universities do in this new world of consumer education?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/alasam/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/alasam/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27640303

I suppose this was to be expected, but how do we balance the “consumer” nature of paying for learning with the requirement to engage in that activity?
I have long used the analogy that undertaking a degree is a lot like a gym membership. You pay for the gym membership, but that alone won’t get you fit or help you lose weight.
Much like a gym membership, the fee being charged by Universities provides “consumers” with access to expertise, specialist resources, dedicated spaces and structured and validated courses. However, unless the “customer” (student) engages with those facilities and resources then they are unlikely to get the results they expect.

Where a University fails to provide the advertised services then they most certainly should be held to account for that failure. I think we should expect to see an increase in complaints (formal and informal), after all if I was paying £9000 for a service which I wasn’t happy with it I would want to talk to someone about it.

What I hope that any complaint system does is acknowledge the fact that the students are buying a service, not a product. You cannot buy your degree off of the shelf without engaging in the process, in the same way that you cannot expect to pay for gym membership, not attend but still expect to lose weight.

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