Oxford faces trial over Indian-origin student’s lawsuit
London, Jan 23 (IANS) In a landmark ruling, the UK Supreme Court has ordered Oxford University to stand trial after an Indian-origin student filed a 1 million pound ($1,245,100) compensation claim saying “appalling bad and boring tuition” in the varsity resulted in him getting a second class degree, a newspaper here reported.
Faiz Siddiqui, a modern history graduate, says he would have enjoyed a career as a top international commercial lawyer had he not been held back for obtaining a 2:1 grade when graduating in June 2000, reported the Daily Mail on Sunday.
He later trained as a solicitor, but says his life and career have been blighted by his failure to obtain a first class degree while at the university’s Brasenose College.
The 38-year-old is suing Oxford University saying the tuition he received was “negligent”, especially on a specialist subject course on Indian imperial history during his final year.
The university then applied to the high court to strike out the claim branding it “hopelessly bad” and “time barred’.
But in a newly-released 18-page judgement, Justice Brian Francis Kerr ruled that the university has a case to answer and that a trial should take “as soon as possible.”
And if Siddiqui’s case is successful, it could pave the way for thousands of other students to launch similar claims about universities up and down the country, with many of them charging large amount of money in tuition fees.
Professor Alan Smithers, education expert at Buckingham University said: “In the past, universities have been quite cavalier about the quality of their teaching. If Siddiqui wins, it will open the door to other students who do not think they got the degree they deserved because of issues about the teaching they received.”
At a previous hearing, the university admitted that it had “difficulties” teaching Asian history in the year Siddiqui graduated, because more than half of the faculty teaching staff were on sabbatical leave at the same time.
Siddiqui said the standard of tuition he received suffered as a result of the “intolerable” pressure the “eminent historian” was under.
As a result of which, Siddiqui said he “underachieved significantly”, causing his overall course grade to bomb.