Posted by: Elmer Brabante | September 1, 2009

University of the East vs. Jader


UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST vs. JADER

GR No. 132344

February 17, 2000 

FACTS:

                Respondent Romeo Jader was enrolled in the University of the East (UE) College of Law from 1984 to 1988. In the first semester of SY 1987-1988, he failed to take the regular final examination in Practice Court 1 for which he was given an incomplete grade.  He enrolled the following semester, and filed an application for the removal of the incomplete grade on February 1, 1988, given by Prof. Ortega which was approved by Dean Tiongzon.  Thereafter, he took the removal examination on March 28, 1988.  On May 30, 1988, Prof. Ortega submitted his grade of five (5). 

                Respondent’s name appeared in the Tentative List of Candidates for Graduation, with the annotation that he had an incomplete grade in PC1.  His name appeared in the invitation for the Investiture and Commencement Exercises on April 16, 1988, with footnote that the list was tentative.  Naturally, the respondent jubilantly attended the graduation and threw a party thereafter. 

                He took a leave from work for five (5) months to attend a review class in preparation for the Bar examination.  Upon learning of his deficiency, he dropped the review class and was not able to take the Bar examination. 

                Respondent then filed with the RTC for damages against petitioner.  The petitioner denied liability arguing that it never led respondent to believe that he completed the requirements for an LlB degree when his name was included in the tentative list of graduating students.  The RTC ruled in respondent’s favor.  Upon appeal, the CA affirmed RTC’s decision. 

ISSUE:

                Whether or not an educational institution may be held liable for damages for misleading a student into believing that the latter had satisfied all the requirements for graduation when such is not the case. 

HELD:

                The petition lacks merit.

                When a student is enrolled in any educational or learning institution, a contract of education is entered into between said institution and the student.  The professors, teachers or instructors hired by the school are considered merely as agents and administrators tasked to perform the school’s commitment under the contract. 

                Petitioner, in belatedly informing the respondent of the result of the removal examination, particularly at a time when he had already commenced preparing for the Bar exams, cannot be said to have acted in good faith.  Absence of good faith must be sufficiently established for a successful prosecution by the aggrieved party in a suit for abuse of right under Article 19 of the Civil Code.  Good faith connotes and honest intention to abstain from taking undue advantage of another, even though the forms and technicalities of the law, together with the absence of all information or belief of facts, would render the transaction unconscientious. 

                It is the school that has access to the information and it is only the school that can compel its professors to act and comply with its rules, regulations and policies with respect to the computation and prompt submission of grades.  Students do not exercise control, much less influence, over the way an educational institution should run its affairs, particularly in discliplining its professors and teachers and ensuring their compliance with the school’s rules and orders.

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