Xinhua News this week reported the case of Ye Jun (pseudonym) who has successfully sued his alma mater in Jiangxi province, China. Ye Jun recently completed his 3yr Sino-Foreign programme run at a subsidiary private college of Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University (江西科技师范学院). The International College (国际教育学院) has a long standing partnership with Lambton College, Canada, offering Bachelors of Business Administration with Accounting. Xinhua report that tuition stood at RMB42k with other associated costs bringing the total to RMB54,250 per annum.
Ye Jun successfully graduated and was awarded his diploma from Lambton, but when applying for the Civil Service examinations, was advised that his degree certificate was invalid as the programme had not received approval. Ye Jun was therefore unable to register his qualification with the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE).
The marketing materials offered students the opportunity to receive both a domestic and foreign diploma. Yet in summation, the Nanchang court advised parents and students to check which programmes have been approved by visiting the MoE website and not to place total trust in the marketing materials of foreign education providers or institutions delivering foreign degrees in China. Ye Jun brought claims against the International College of Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University for well over RMB100k, but was awarded only RMB10000 in compensation.
According to Xinhua, it was noted in the court reports that this was the first case in Jiangxi province where a student had brought litigation against a university for running unapproved programmes. The defense revolved around several issues including that Lambton College is listed as a legitimate public university on the MoE website, and arguing somewhat confusingly that because the International College was not recruiting in-quota (Gaokao) students and no Chinese degree was awarded, no approval for the Sino-Foreign programme was required. It was pointed out to the defense that, in fact, any programme enrolling Chinese students on the mainland and issuing academic qualifications must be approved by the MoE.