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.
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.
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.