The application of the Consumer Rights Protection Act to education is considered harmful and creates preferences for negligent students at the expense of their conscientious fellow students.
The decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation No. 16-KG22-8-K4 dated July 12, 2022, by which the judges ordered the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Labor Unions to “return” their former student Koval O.N. 245,000 rubles paid by her for her studies, to pay a fine of 125,000 rubles, and compensation for non-pecuniary damage of 5,000 rubles, caused an official protest of the student union committee, a text was posted on the website of the university.
As noted in a statement addressed to the Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Lebedev, excellent students from St. Petersburg State Unitary Enterprise are not expelled:
“The average score of those leaving the university is much lower than the four. It is also characteristic that the student Koval O.N. by the time of expulsion was a desperate C student and a violator of discipline. For two years of study, her “achievements” are an average score of 3.3, as well as 10 comments and reprimands for being late and absenteeism".
The student, obviously, turned out to be so careless that at first she decided to continue her studies and paid for it, and then changed her mind, but missed the deadline for the return of funds stipulated by the agreement with the university. Or she changed her mind already when the deadline had passed, and therefore she ran to “pull out” them through the court.
Those who continue their studies will have to pay for this laxity:
“The fact is that Koval O.N. were spent on her education in accordance with her will and on legal grounds. ...The absence of Koval O.N. in classrooms, the university's expenses were not affected. Ignoring by the court the economic mechanisms of the work of the university does not cancel this circumstance. Now it is possible to execute the court decision only at our expense: from the money paid by us for the subsequent periods of education”, - the students are indignant.
Students are unpleasantly surprised that the court comes to its decision, based on the Consumer Protection Act. “The only normative document referred to by the court was Order No. 160 of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Antimonopoly Policy and Entrepreneurship Support of May 20 , 1998. There is nothing more to refer to in Russian legislation”, - the union committee notes. – The highest court of the country does not notice that according to the law, the consumer “acquires services exclusively for personal needs”, and “education is a process of education and training, which is a public good”; that the customer of services “gives instructions to the performers”, and at the university the student is obliged to follow the instructions of the professors and administration; that at the university a student and a teacher carry out joint activities aimed at achieving a common goal, but there is no joint activity in the provision of services; that the student, in addition to rights, has a lot of obligations, and the consumer has no obligations other than paying for services, etc. etc. That is, the legislator quite clearly formulates the specifics and differences of legal relations in education and the service sector, and the court ignores them.
It should be noted that a year ago following a meeting with the public and a meeting of the Presidium of the State Council, President Vladimir Putin instructed to exclude the concept of "educational service" from the legislation on education (Order No. Pr-1808GS).
However, it turns out that the Supreme Court ignored the President’s order, thereby actually transferring education to the service sector, where, as it turns out now, a diploma is sold for money, the client is “always right,” and teachers are, as it were, waiters serving consumers. But unlike a commercial structure (restaurant, hairdresser, sewing studio) , in a university, the court rips off money not from the entrepreneur, but from other clients?!
It looks like some kind of absurdity! This approach deforms the education system and lowers its quality. It now appears that the lower courts often surreptitiously enforced the same law. It becomes clearer why many universities have become almshouses, where students skip classes, do not study, and then buy grades. They are afraid to expel truants, they are afraid to put deuces to ignoramuses: but what about - after all, the law “On Protection of Consumer Rights”! And then sociologists are surprised that university graduates do not go to work in their specialty, and employers, if such a young specialist comes to them, are indignant that he can’t do anything and he needs to be taught everything again.
Harmful law enforcement practice destroys the domestic education system, where instead of requiring the student to work on mastering the chosen specialty, he, as if in juvenile justice, has to be nursed like a small child, encouraging his infantilism and removing from him responsibility for his education, future, career and life.
Is it possible to entrust such students with the future of the country, if they, like this truant, cannot even pick up money on time, do not go to classes, but then run to the court to defend consumer rights? However, there is a much simpler question: would the respected Mr. Lebedev take such a graduate to work as a judge? For some reason it seems unlikely...