SAA-GE aims to provide a high standard and quality of service in respect of its programmes of study, student support and facilities. In addition, it strives to provide a satisfying and productive work environment for its staff (including the part-time lecturers). Thus, a closed loop feedback management system is put in place to collect and address all feedback received from students and staff, as well as the external parties, for continuous improvement in all aspects. In this context, external partners refer to parents, student recruitment agents, the general public, service vendors and academic partners.
Feedback is information provided by students, staff or external parties that is intended to be used as a basis for improvement. Complaints are feedback expressing dissatisfaction of a serious nature that can lead to undesirable outcome (grievances) if not attended to and resolved in a timely and satisfactory manner. Disputes are disagreements that remain unresolved notwithstanding all attempts to achieve resolution of complaints. Compliments are positive feedback that resulted from positive experiences.
The Dispute Resolution policy is established to deal with unresolved complaints that have resulted into grievances and/or disputes. The purpose of this policy is to describe and regulate the way SAA-GE handles disputes and grievances. Within the context of this policy, the term grievance is considered to be synonymous with complaint – with grievances to be handled in the same manner as complaints. This policy has been designed to be aligned to the dispute resolution provision in the Private Education Act.
Open communication and feedback are regarded as essential elements of a satisfying and productive work environment. Annual Staff Satisfaction Survey and Lecturer Survey are conducted to gather feedback from the full-time staff members as well as the part-time lecturers. Besides surveys, staff and part-time lecturers are able to provide feedback at the Department Meetings and Staff Communication Sessions.
SAA-GE encourages its staff, as well as part-time lecturers, to resolve any issues or concerns that they may have at the earliest opportunity with each other or, failing that, their immediate supervisor. The preferred process involves staff resolving issues to their satisfaction internally, without feeling they have to refer to external organisations or to authorities for assistance.
SAA-GE will establish mechanisms to promote fast and efficient resolution of workplace issues or grievances. All grievances are to be resolved within 21 working days. Staff should feel comfortable discussing issues with their manager or supervisor in accordance with the grievance procedures. All formal avenues for handling of grievances will be fully documented and the employee/volunteer’s wishes will be taken into account in determining the appropriate steps and actions. No staff members will be intimidated or unfairly treated in any respect in the process of resolving an issue.
There are many forms of feedback in a school environment. SAA-GE is committed to providing swift and efficient communication channels for students to provide their feedback. Complaints relating to educational experience for both academic and non-academic matters are addressed and resolved in an objective, fair and reasonable manner. Where the respective awarding bodies’ policies and/or procedures exist for dealing with these matters they will take precedence over the dispute resolution policy.
Students are encouraged to lodge their complaint at the earliest opportunity. SAA-GE will acknowledge complaint received within 1 working day and will try to resolve the issue within 14 working days. In the event that the issue is not resolved within this timeline, the students will be notified of the reasons for the delay.
Complaints received are handled by related departments, depending on the nature and area of concern. Staff members have been trained to resolve/ handle all student matters/ issues. Official communication of follow-up action should be approved by the respective Heads of Department.
All complaints are managed in the following manner:
- Timely resolution at the lowest level possible
- Principles of fairness applied to all involved in the process
- Privacy and confidentiality are maintained to all involved in the process
- Staff members involved in dealing with the complaint have no conflict of interest
- Proper documentation of the correspondence in relation the complaint is kept for internal review purposes
Where a complaint is shown to be frivolous, vexatious or motivated by malice, it will be dismissed and disciplinary action may be taken against the student.
SAA-GE recognises that complaints may provide useful feedback which, where appropriate, can be used to improve the services and facilities. Thus, the School regularly seeks feedback formally from students through scheduled surveys and Student Focus Groups. There are regular Lecturers’ Evaluations and annual Student Satisfaction Survey for all students. Also, new students recruited by the Student Recruitment Agents can feedback on the agent performance via the Student Satisfaction on Agent Survey.
The School is open to receiving any feedback from all stakeholders. Feedback can be provided via the following avenues:
- Verbal communications (over the Front counter, via telephone, conversations with staff members)
- Written correspondence: email to firstname.lastname@example.org or letters
In the event that the internal dispute resolution process is unable to render a satisfactory outcome for disputes or grievances with students, they may approach the Committee for Private Education (CPE) through their Student Services Centre to seek redress. For issues that do not contravene the Private Education Act and/or its Regulations, there are three avenues which redress can be sought:
- CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme; or
- The Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) – for clear-cut fee refund issues of equivalent or less than S$10,000; or
- Own legal counsel
Information of the CPE Dispute Resolution Mechanism can be found on its website at https://www.cpe.gov.sg/student-services/dispute-resolution
Review and Monitoring
SAA-GE is committed to continually monitoring its performance in collecting, responding to and analysing feedback received (feedback management) and in handling complaints and disputes (Dispute Resolution Policy). Statistics are maintained about the numbers and types of complaints received and how they were dealt and these serve as inputs to internal review process. In addition, positive feedback (compliments) is used for identifying the factors that drive positive experiences.