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‘Mickey Mouse’ Degree Claim results in £61,000 Settlement

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The UK’s Anglia Ruskin University has lost a claim by one of its graduates over the standard and quality of the teaching provided, resulting in an out of court financial settlement of £61,000.

The graduate who made the claim, Pok Wong, ultimately graduated in 2013 with a firstclass degree in International Business Strategy but decided to sue the university on the grounds of false advertising, in particular with regard to their claims to offer “high-quality” teaching. Wong, who is now working as a paralegal in Hong Kong, claimed that the course failed to properly explain business concepts and rules, that lectures were unstimulating with repeated re-use of resources and that contact time with lecturers was also reduced part way through her course.

Wong has warned universities about what they promote and claim in their prospectuses, and said some UK universities were being run like businesses rather than educational institutes. Following her out of court settlement, Wong said:

I raised my complaints with the university but they didn’t do anything, they said I was the only student who complained so perhaps that was my own issue…I had no way to complain, but there were a lot of students who were not happy. The university is focused on its own commercial interests rather than those of the students.”

In commenting on the settlement amount, she added: “I want to encourage other people to follow suit. This was not for the £61,000 – if you have followed me from the beginning you’ll have seen that I spent much more money and time on this than that.”

Anglia Ruskin has maintained that despite the settlement, the case does not prove that the university was at fault. A spokesperson for the university said:

Ms Wong’s longstanding litigation ... has been settled at the instruction of our insurers to draw a line under these matters and to prevent a further escalation of their legal costs…the claims were wholly without merit and resulted in cost orders made against Ms Wong by the Central London county court on two occasions.”

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