The absolute number of complaints have remained steady, although there has been a significant decrease (41%) in the total volume of feedback or queries received over the last 3 years. In 2018, 4 in 10 cases received by CPE were complaints against private schools.
Administrative Issues (23%) and Fees (21%) were the top grievances for year 2018.
Breakdown of complaints by categories
The bar chart below shows the breakdown of complaints CPE received from 2016 to 2018. Administrative Issues remains to be the top feedback category for private school students over three consecutive years. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of complaints increased for all feedback categories except School Registrations/Advertisements and Teacher/Staff. Notably, complaints about certificates increased by almost 60%.
Examples of complaints by categories
Administrative Issues: Relocation of school premises, school facilities, time-tabling, request to view examination papers, admission and withdrawal processes, deferment and disciplinary policies, issues related to management of examinations e.g. sitting arrangement, venue, time
Fees: Fees increase, refund due to course withdrawal, disputes on payment schedule or outstanding fees
Academic Matters: Disputes on progression pathway, disputes on different exemptions given to students based on their qualifications, disputes on marks received for examinations and assignments, problems with industry attachment provided by school
Teacher/Staff: Alleged favouritism and bias towards other students, teaching quality of teachers, service standards of school administrative staff
Certificates: Recognition of certificates/courses, delay in receiving certificates/transcripts
School Registrations/Advertisements: Misleading advertisements by schools, complaints on unregistered institutions
Others: Issues with course fee insurance coverage, problems related to student visas, issues related to closure of schools such as disruption of studies, difficulties in contacting the private school
Mediation and Settlement Rate
The CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme aims to help students resolve disputes with their private school. In 2018, only about 1% of the total number of complaints were deemed suitable for resolution under the CPE’s Mediation-Arbitration Scheme and successfully mediated.
Students are advised to find out more about the available options and limitations in resolving disputes with private schools before signing up for a course.
Should you have an issue with your school, highlight it to your school’s management as the first step, especially for issues that do not contravene the Private Education (PE) Act and/or its Regulations (e.g. matters on school administration and service quality).
Contact us if you find that the school is still unable to address your concerns. We will investigate issues that may have contravened the Private Education (PE) Act and/or its Regulations, and take action where appropriate.