USP’s Exclusivity and Ranking Claims Misleading

10/09/2021 10:39

The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) is urging universities to refrain from making statements which are incorrect or likely to create a false impression. This is after the University of the South Pacific (USP) earlier this week claimed that it has been ranked in the top 10% of universities in the world.

While the Council recognizes and congratulates USP for attaining a ranking in the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking 2021, CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms. Seema Shandil says that USP’s claim of being in the top 10% of universities in the world is misleading and overstretched at best.

“USP should exercise greater diligence when making such statements as it impacts a lot of stakeholders in the region including its current and potential students – the consumers of USP’s services,” said Ms. Shandil.

There are over 25,000 Universities globally out of which less than 2000 were part of THE ranking. This entails that approximately 8% of universities were part of the survey which was used for the ranking. Hence, to say that USP is among the top 10% of universities in the world is an exaggeration.  

The Council is also concerned with USP’s claim that it is part of an exclusive club of universities. Ms. Shandil says that any organization which charges consumers for its products and services are essentially engaging in unethical practices by making such unsubstantiated claims of exclusivity as it is seen as a marketing tactic to lure consumers – who are potential students in this case.

“USP has and continues to greatly contribute to the development of the region hence should place itself above such marketing gimmicks which may bring disrepute to them. USP, like any other business, must adhere to the principles of good governance when engaging in any marketing practices to ensure they do not infringe on the consumers right to correct and accurate information,” said Ms. Shandil.

Consumers wishing to lodge complaints or seek advice on any consumer related issues are encouraged to contact the Council using the toll-free number 155 or via the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.