Payout after squeaks against England uniLocal | Jane Cheung 3 Jun 2019
A Hong Kong woman claims to have won a legal battle against England's Anglia Ruskin University.
Wong Pok, 30, received an out-of-court settlement of 61,000 (HK$603,000) after complaining the university "fraudulently misrepresented" a business course in which she enrolled in 2011 and she ended up with a "Mickey Mouse" degree.
Wong, who graduated with a first-class degree in international business strategy in 2013, said ARU's claims it was a "renowned center of excellence" offering "high quality teaching" was not true.
She took her case to London County Court after failing to get the "excellent career prospects" the institute had promised as she faced difficulties in finding a rewarding job after graduating.
Wong, who has returned to Hong Kong, told The Sunday Telegraph that the payout translates to a victory for her, despite the university denying any responsibility.
"In light of this settlement, I think universities should be careful about what they say in prospectuses," she said. "I think they often make promises which they know will never materialize or are simply not true."
The Cambridge-based university countered that the settlement out of court so nothing was proven.
"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," a spokesman said.
When Wong filed the writ last year she said some of ARU's lecturers were lazy and were often late for classes. Some sent students to the library for self-study as they had nothing to teach.
"The school thinks international students come here for a certificate and a degree, but we care about the quality," Wong said. "We care about how much we could learn."
The 61,000 she collected covered her tuition fees and living costs during the two-year course.
Before lodging her complaint to the court, Wong publicly criticized the university and lambasted it for a poor quality of teaching.
To prevent her from staging a protest at her graduation ceremony, ARU did not allow her to attend it and locked her in a room until the event ended.
Out of the 130 universities in the United Kingdom, Anglia Ruskin University ranked 118th in the University League Tables and Rankings 2020.
According to the BBC, the university had complaints from 992 students in 2012 and 2013.