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Explaining the Terms and Conditions in the Student Contracts

Why is this important?

  • The student contract is a critical document that governs the relationship between the private education institution (PEI) and the student. Prospective students should therefore understand and agree to the terms and conditions stated in the student contract before signing it.
  • The process of executing student contracts is important as it allows for questions by prospective students to be answered by the PEI before the student is enrolled.
  • A student contract that is explained clearly and understood by the student will minimise potential disputes between the PEI and the student.

What are the specific requirements?

  • Under the PE Regulation Section 25(6), every registered PEI must execute a student contract for any course that is more than two months in duration.
  • Under EduTrust Sub-criterion 4.2, PEIs must execute a student contract for every course unless the course is declared in the EduTrust Declaration and Undertaking Letter (during application for EduTrust certification) as less than 1 month or 50 hours in duration, or waiver has been granted by the CPE.

What was the situation before the Good Practice?

  • To fulfill the specific requirements, School X (EduTrust-certified) had originally employed two full-time marketing staff to execute the student contract signing process.
  • However, the school found that it still took too long for its staff to explain the entire contents of the student contract to prospective students one-by-one.
  • In some instances, the information was not effectively communicated by the marketing staff to the students. This led to some students misunderstanding the terms and conditions in the student contract and the school received several complaints on student contracts as a result.

What did the school decide to do?

  • The school decided to form a Work Improvement Team to review the student contract execution process. After several brainstorming sessions, the team decided to produce a 7-minute video clip, using internal resources, to explain the key elements of the student contract.
  • The video clip was uploaded to the school’s website. Arrangements were then made for prospective students to watch the video clip prior to signing the student contract. The school’s external recruitment agents were also instructed to use the video clip during their pre-course counseling.
  • The school also produced a Mandarin version of the video clip to cater to its international students from China. The school plans to have versions of the video clip in Vietnamese and Bahasa Indonesia in the near future to cater to international students from these two countries.

How did the school benefit?

  • The school’s staff no longer needed to verbally explain the student contract to prospective students one-by-one. They could use their time to focus instead on answering specific questions.
  • Prospective students can watch the video clip at a time and location of their convenience before signing the student contract. Prospective students can also watch the video clip as a group, further improving the productivity of the process.
  • The video clips also reduce the possibility of miscommunication of information to prospective students by staff. Since the introduction of the video clip in early 2010, the school has not received any student contract-related complaints.