January 28, 2013 The
The commerce of education
ISSUE People have to be wary of many educational
institutions which make false promises.
Once considered a service to the community, education has
today become an industry, where righteousness seldom exists. It is highly
commercialised and we often come across naive consumers falling prey to the
insincere promises made by educational institutions.
Recently, relying upon the school's prospectus which
announced a 50 per cent scholarship for students who had scored more than 95
per cent in Class X Board Exams, a proud Amarnath admitted his daughter into
Class XI, in a reputed school in the city. Amarnath's daughter had scored 96.8
per cent, and therefore, the admission seemed quite feasible to him. However,
when he paid the first term fee, he was advised to pay the entire amount and
was told that the scholarship amount would be adjusted in due course.
In total faith, Amarnath paid the sum and when he raised the
matter a few months later, he was shocked to be told that the school's
scholarship scheme was revised and that it would apply only to students who had
secured 97 per cent and above in the Board Exams. He immediately pointed out
the mention in the prospectus and wrote to the school authorities stating that
it was unfair for them to go back on their word, but to no avail. An aggrieved
Amarnath sought our assistance. We have represented the matter and are awaiting
In a similar instance, in the case of Bhupesh Khurana and
Ors. vs. Vishwa Buddha Parishad , filed before the National Commission, the
opposite party were running an educational institution in the name of Buddhist
Mission Dental College and Hospital. The college advertised in newspapers
stating that it was affiliated to the Magadh University, Bihar, and was
recognised by the Dental Council of India.
On seeing this, the complainants enrolled for the BDS
course. However, the students got suspicious beyond a certain period as no
exams were conducted. On enquiry, they were shocked to learn that the college
was neither affiliated to the Magadh University nor recognised by the Dental
Council of India. Twelve of the affected students made a joint representation
before the National Commission seeking a compensation of Rs.1,21,94,000. The
opposite party tried to take defence under a few vague clauses mentioned in the
prospectus. The Commission failed to entertain those indistinct contentions and
ordered for refund of the admission expenses paid by students, along with
interest and compensation of Rs. 20,000 to each of the complainant. Rs.10,000
was awarded as costs.
In another case, L.B.S. Centre for Science and Technology
vs. Vinod Kumar and Ors. , that came up before the National Commission, the
opposite party offered a one-year DCA course and the prospectus issued stated
that on completion of the course, the students could appear for DOEACC ‘O'
level exams conducted by the Computer Society of India. Lured by this, the
complainants joined the course and paid the first term fees of Rs. 2,500 each.
But later, the college put out a notice stating that the students who would complete
the DCA course were not eligible for the ‘O' level exams.
Upholding the decision of the State Commission, the National
Commission observed that according to the prospectus, the students were given
the belief that those completing the course from the Centre would be eligible
for ‘O' level exams. This representation turned out to be untrue. Students had
lost one year of their valuable career. Thus, it was a clear case of deficiency
in service on part of the institution. Refund of the fee amount along with
compensation of Rs. 5,000 for each of the complainant and costs, awarded by the
District Forum was upheld by the Commission.
These preposterous occurrences stand proof to the existence
of such institutions and also drive home the message to be aware of such
covetous institutions. Besides, people engaged in the business should recognise
the fact that it is the career and future of the younger generation that they
are dealing with and act more conscientiously.
(The writer works with CAG, which offers free advice on
consumer complaints to its members. For membership details / queries contact
2491 4358 / 2446 0387 or firstname.lastname@example.org )