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STUDENT COMPLAINT POLICY AND PROCEDURES

The International Programs operates under the principles issued by Thongsook College. These principles are that the policy and process should be accessible, fair, flexible, confidential, clear, and timely.  Complaints that arise through this process are monitored and mechanisms are in place to identify and apply any lessons that have been learnt from the complaints.  Staff who deal with the complaints process have the necessary authority and management support to carry out the process effectively.  If you decide to make a complaint in good faith you will not be disadvantaged in your program of study regardless of the outcome of the complaint.

What can I complain about?

A "complaint" is defined as any specific concern you have about the provision of your program of study or related service, or the behavior of staff or fellow students towards you or any other person.

It includes the assessment process except where the complaint is simply a disagreement with an academic judgment for example a grade you receive for an academic assessment or exam.

Who can use this process?

This complaints procedure may only be used by an individual who is, or has been, registered as a student of Thongsook College and who is not recorded as being a leaver (or, if they are a leaver, is complaining about events that occurred before they were a leaver, within the permitted timescales).  Applicants wishing to make a complaint should address the Faculty of International Programs for further information.

A group of students may use this procedure to make a collective complaint provided that one student identifies him/herself as the main contact for purposes of communication.

The college's expectation is that anyone wishing to make a complaint does so personally.  In exceptional circumstances where a third party makes a complaint on behalf of a student we will require the student's express written consent that the third party is acting on their behalf and to allow us to refer to the details of their own specific case.  Please note that all correspondence will be copied into the student as well as the third party unless otherwise agreed. Anonymous complaints will not be considered.

What kind of complaints are excluded?

Students have the right to appeal through the Faculty of International Programs for a review of a final decision with making decisions on assessment, progression.  However, complaints relating to the quality of teaching or supervision, or other circumstances that relate to the delivery of a program of study before the point of assessment or the submission of an academic literature review document, thesis or dissertation should be raised under the Complaints Procedure.  It is expected that students make informal and contemporaneous attempts to resolve such issues within one month of the occurrence of the events to which the complaint relates.  It is then expected that any formal complaints concerning the events are received in accordance with the Student Complaints Policy within one month of the informal outcome.

If a student does not dispute that the college policy or regulation has been fairly and correctly applied to them, but does not agree with the policy itself, the matter should be raised by the student with the relevant student representative to the Faculty of International Programs. The Complaints procedure should not be used in these circumstances.

 

This procedure may not be invoked in relation to complaints about non-academic matters by students who are studying by collaborative arrangement and who are studying away from the college at partner institutions/centers.

Complaints associated with other college policies should be sent in the first instance to studentcomplaints@thongsook.college and will be referred to the relevant department for investigation, where appropriate.

Complaints may not be accepted if the remedy sought is beyond the power of the college to deliver.

Principles

Complaints should be treated seriously and students must not suffer any disadvantage or recrimination as a result of making a complaint in good faith. However, students are required to abide by the principles of the Student Code of Conduct for students in making their complaint.

In all cases, it is desirable that complaints are resolved informally and quickly between the relevant parties, and that the formal process is only started if that fails.

Only complaints presented on the appropriate official forms will be dealt with as formal complaints; the forms can be found on our website http://www.thongsook.college/

Students are encouraged to seek advice from the relevant local student body representatives at any stage in the complaints process, including advice on how to present their case effectively.

When a complaint is upheld, part of the resolution may involve reporting the circumstances to a Board of Examiners or other academic body for consideration in their decision making processes.

There may be times when a student submits a complaint, the subject of which is actually an appeal, or vice versa.  In these cases, the college may decide to reclassify the complaint or appeal, at whatever stage of the procedure that has been reached, and the college will inform the student of this.

Recording and monitoring of complaints

It is important that the number, level and range of complaints are monitored in order to improve the student experience. The relevant department will record complaints on a central database and report from it (without divulging the details of specific complainants) to indicate the nature of complaints and complainants, and resultant action.

Such reports will:

  • Feed into the monitoring and evaluation procedure at various levels: department, faculty, college;

  • Feed directly into appropriate college-wide committees;

  • Assist in identifying problems and trends across the college;

  • Form the basis of positive publicity, in demonstrating that identified issues have been resolved;

  • Be made available to the Student representatives upon request.

Making a Complaint

The following sections explain what making a complaint means, and what to do if a complaint is not resolved satisfactorily.

Level 1: Local Level Review

Level 2: Program/Department personnel review

Level 3: Faculty Director/CEO review

To make a complaint a student must start at Level 1.

Expected Time Limits

Where possible, these deadlines should be adhered to and appropriate reasons should be given promptly to the student when the time deadlines are not feasible.

 

If the student fails to proceed within the given deadlines of the complaints procedure they may not be able to progress through the internal complaints mechanisms of the college.

Level 1: Local Level

Students are expected to try to resolve a complaint directly, informally and quickly with the person concerned. In some circumstances, in the first instance, the student may prefer to approach a different member of staff e.g. a member of the student representatives or the course lecturer. 

The complaint should be made within 1 month of the unsatisfactory circumstances occurring, at the latest.  The sooner the matter is raised, the better.

The student is expected to explain clearly what the problem is and what outcome they are seeking, and the member of staff is expected to listen to the complaint and to try to resolve it in a straightforward, reasonable and prompt manner. Staff dealing with complaints are encouraged, whenever practical, to meet with the student to establish the precise cause of dissatisfaction, to explore the remedy sought by the student and to foster a mutual understanding of the issues involved.

Although informal, the member of staff should make notes of any meetings and keep a record of the agreed outcome.  Notes should be shared with the student.  The student should be notified that the matter is deemed to be resolved and advised of the availability of Level 2 of the complaints procedure, if the complaint is not upheld.

We expect most complaints to be resolved in this way.

Level 2: Program/Department personnel review

If Level 1 does not provide a satisfactory outcome for the student, they can ask the Program/Department personnel staff to review and deal formally with the complaint.

The student should complete the Complaints Form prior;

what their complaint is;

what the supporting evidence is;

why informal resolution was unsuccessful;

what outcome they want.

Upon completion, the form should be sent to the Faculty of International Programs via the following email address; studentcomplaints@thongsook.college  The International Programs will only deal with complaints presented on a Complaint Form where all of these points are covered. A hard copy is available to students who, for reasons, are unable to access the electronic form.  Please contact studentcomplaints@thongsook.college for further information.

Complaint Form should be submitted within 1 month of notification of the outcome of Level 1.

If the form does not set out clearly and with reasonable brevity the points indicated above, the student will be asked to resubmit the form in a manner that enables proper consideration of the complaint to take place.

The International Programs will administer the complaint and will be accessible to complainants and staff at all stages of the process.  The International Programs will acknowledge receipt of Complaint Form within 5 working days. The complaint will be logged and referred to the appropriate person in the department. 

The International Programs will ensure that an investigation is carried out before a written response is provided to the complainant.  The investigation and its outcome must be fair and reasonable.

The written reply from the International Programs will follow a standard template which is provided by the college.  The International Programs will populate the template and return it to relevant college department, who will send the response to the complainant.

If the International Programs finds in favor of the student, they may decide on whatever redress they think appropriate, bearing in mind the outcome sought by the student. This may, in appropriate circumstances, include monetary compensation if the student can demonstrate that financial loss has been incurred.

If the complaint is not upheld, the student will be notified of the availability of Level 3 of the complaints procedure.

The reply will normally be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of Complaint Form by the International Programs.  If the investigation will take longer than 6 weeks, the student will be informed of the reason and an expected date of response.

Complainants, and individuals named in complaints, will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint at all stages.

 

Level 3: Faculty Director/CEO review

Where the Level 2 complaint was heard by a member of the International Programs, the Level 3 complaint will be heard by the Faculty Director/CEO.

A Faculty Director/CEO may be asked to review the way a member of the International Programs personnel handled a complaint.  The Faculty Director/CEO will review the complaint and exercise discretion and judgment as to whether further investigation is necessary.

The student should complete the Complaint Form prior to level 3;

why they believe the decision made at Level 2 was not fair or reasonable;

how the procedure for the Level 2 complaint was procedurally incorrect and how this made a significant difference to the outcome of their complaint

The student must set out the grounds of the complaint by making reference to those standards, and must provide evidence to support their claim. If the student provides evidence to support one or both of the points above, the Faculty Director/CEO will arrange for further investigation to take place.  In reaching a decision, the reviewer is expected to be fair and reasonable. A complaint without adequate grounds and evidence will be dismissed.

Complaint Form should be submitted within 1 month of notification of the outcome of the Level 2 complaint.

The Director/CEO will acknowledge receipt of the Complaint Form within 5 working days and the complaint will be logged.  If the Level 2 complaint was reviewed by the Faculty Director/CEO, it will be referred to the Director/CEO of a different Faculty.

Complainants, and individuals named in complaints, will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint at all stages.

Once a decision has been made, the Faculty Director/CEO will provide the response to the personnel team of International Programs, who will send the response to the complainant.

If the complaint is upheld, the student will receive a written explanation of their decision.  

If the Faculty Director/CEO does not uphold the complaint, the student will receive a written response giving reasons, and a "Completion of Procedures" letter (see below) will be issued.

The Faculty Director/CEO may decide to uphold part, but not all, of the complaint and will respond to the student accordingly.

The reply will normally be sent within 6 weeks of receipt of Complaint Form.  If the investigation will take longer than 6 weeks, the student will be informed of the reason and an expected date of response.

Office of the Higher Education Commission

Once the internal complaints procedure has been completed, if the student is still not happy with the outcome, they may take their complaint to the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC).  The OHEC operates externally to the college. It will not normally look at a complaint unless and until all relevant internal complaints procedures have been exhausted. Further information is available from the OIA website http://inter.mua.go.th/ 

Completion of Procedures

As required by the OHEC, if we are unable to resolve a complaint to the student's satisfaction, and there are no further steps available to the student, we will issue a formal "Completion of Procedures" letter. This provides a formal confirmation that the student has exhausted the internal complaints procedure, and is required before a complaint may be considered by the OHEC.

Publicizing our procedures  

Complaints and appeals are part of the college's process of quality review and improvement and are considered as providing valuable feedback rather than criticism. We may widely publicize information about procedures to students and staff.

Help

Students are encouraged to contact their local student advisory body representatives for assistance at any stage of the procedure. Students are also welcome to contact our Faulty of International Programs on;

99/79 Borommaratchachonnani Road

Sala Thammasop, Thawi Watthana

Bangkok 10170 Thailand 

T: +66 (0)2 885 2385 

E: studentcomplaints@thongsook.college