Payouts for poor course

November 21, 1997

THE UNIVERSITY of Wales Cardiff has withdrawn two film production postgraduate diploma courses after paying out Pounds 24,000 in compensation to dissatisfied students. The university admitted its quality assurance procedures were "inadequate" and cancelled the 1997/98 intake.

Twelve postgraduates in the school of journalism, media and cultural studies raised five main points of complaint about the independent film production diploma course last year, but had their initial complaints to the course tutor and department rejected.

The students complained about lack of academic content; staff absences and cancelled sessions; broken equipment and lack of technical support; insufficient equipment; and Pounds 100 grants instead of Pounds 500 for the final film project.

They took their complaints to the second stage of the university's newly established complaints procedure. Their case was investigated by university vice president and television journalist Vincent Kane, who found in their favour and awarded the complainants Pounds 1,300 each. The students pressed for more compensation and the university complaints committee increased the award to Pounds 2,000 each.

Cardiff's senior executive, Vanessa Cunningham, said: "This outcome demonstrates that the student complaints procedure is working as it should. The facts of this complaint highlight an instance where the university's quality assurance procedures were inadequate. The university takes the matter very seriously and has already taken steps to to ensure that such circumstances cannot recur."

A spokeswoman said the documentary and independent film production options would be reinstated for the the 1998/99 session.

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