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Graduate sues Oxford University for ‘negligent and boring’ teaching

LONDON: An Oxford graduate is suing the university for £1 million claiming the “appallingly bad and boring” tuition cost him a first-class degree as well as a successful career. 

The Indian-origin student Faiz Siddiqui in his petition told the High Court he believes he would have had a career as an international commercial lawyer if he had been awarded a 1st class degree rather than the 2:1 he achieved 16 years ago.

The trained solicitor suffers from depression and insomnia, which he links to examination results, and has led to an inability to hold down a job for a significant period of time.

Faiz Siddiqui outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Picture via Daily Mail

Faiz Siddiqui outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Picture via Daily Mail

Mr Siddiqui studied modern history at Brasenose College and claims he would have got a better grade if it wasn’t for “negligent” teaching on Indian imperial history in his final year.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, Siddiqui suffers from insomnia and depression which his barrister, Roger Mallalieu, puts down to his unexpected failure to gain a first.

Mr Siddiqui claims that during his final year four of the seven staff who taught the Indian imperial history course were on sabbatical leave, leading to a shortage of tutors.

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Mallalieu said 13 of the 15 students who took the course received their lowest or joint lowest mark – showing “the standard of teaching was objectively unacceptable”.

Mallalieu told the court: “This is a large percentage who got their lowest mark in the specialist subject papers. There is a statistical anomaly that matches our case that there was a specific problem with the teaching in this year having a knock-on effect on the performance of students.” He added: “The standard of teaching was objectively unacceptable.”

Oxford University says the case is baseless and should be struck out because a number of years have passed since Mr Siddiqui graduated. The university also noted they made special allowance for Mr Siddiqui in some of his papers for hay fever.

A judgment is expected later this month.

 

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