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Report on a complaint against the Southern Institute of Technology by six former students

Mel Smith
Issue date:

In December 2002 I received a complaint by six former students of the Southern Institute of Technology, (the Institute), who in 1999 had been enrolled in the National Certificate in Social Services programme conducted by it.

The complaint was, in essence, that the programme had been held out to be the first year of a two year course of study that would lead to a National Diploma in Social Services and that when the Institute decided not to proceed with the National Diploma in Social Services course in 2000, the remedy offered by the Institute for the effect of this decision on the students was in the particular circumstances inadequate and unreasonable. 

On 25 July 2003 I wrote to the Institute advising that I had formed a provisional view that the Institute’s decision to offer the student’s a free course in 2000 appeared to me to be inadequate in the circumstances and therefore unreasonable.  I invited the Institute to respond to my provisional views by 22 August 2003 before coming to any final opinion on the matter.  I received no response and on 3 September 2003 I reported my final opinion to the Institute sustaining the complaint by confirming my provisional view and recommending that the Institute reimburse the 1999 course fees and related out of pocket expenses incurred by each of the complainants.  I requested the Institute to advise me by 26 September 2003 of the steps the Institute would be taking to give effect to my recommendation.

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