Private college ordered to refund full course fee

Being awarded a diploma should be a gratifying experience. However, this was not the case for Yu Chin Hao, 27, when he discovered that the graphic design diploma he received from a private college here in Johor Bahru was not recognised by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) of the Ministry of Higher Education.

Yu, who hails from Perak and works in Singapore, was forced to take his grievance to the Tribunal for Consumer Claims to resolve the issue after failing to get a satisfactory explanation from the private college concerned.

“I started attending the graphic design diploma course in 2005 with seven other students and graduated in 2008,” he said.

“I decided to enrol in this particular private college because it offers graphic design diploma course unlike other colleges in Johor Bahru which only offer degree courses,” he added.

“Initially, I heard rumours that the diploma course offered by the college was not recognised by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency and did consider pulling out but finally stayed on to complete the course as I had already paid the RM 22,500 course fee in full,” he explained further.

Yu said, he was shocked when he was informed by the MAQ of the Ministry of Higher Education that the course offered by the private college is not accredited and recognised by them.

He then approached the college to seek clarification and ways to resolve the issue to no avail.

He sought the assistance of the Tribunal for Consumer Claims, which ruled in favour of Yu and ordered the private college to refund the full course fee of RM22,500 to the claimant within fourteen days from date of the hearing.

Speaking to reporters after the judgement, Yu said he felt cheated and advised anyone who wished to pursue further studies should first verify with the MAQ of the Higher Education Ministry whether the course offered is recognised by the government.

The Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) is the government agency responsible for formulating policies; setting, monitoring, reviewing and overseeing the standard and quality control of courses; and accrediting certificates, diplomas and degrees.

Degree courses offered by a private higher education institution are required to attain LAN accreditation. LAN accreditation for diploma courses are optional, but the courses must meet the minimum standard (Malay version only) as set by the Board.