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Graduate sues his university after failing to get a first

Faiz Siddiqui blames his grade on ‘appallingly bad’ teaching, and now wants £1 million from the University of Oxford

A graduate from the University of Oxford is suing the institution after only receiving a 2:1 in his degree. Faiz Siddiqui, 38, graduated from the University in 2000 and is claiming that failing to get a first class degree has thwarted his chances of a successful career as a jet-setting commercial barrister. He now wants £1,000,000 as compensation.

Siddiqui claims that he didn’t get a first because of the “boring” and “appallingly bad” teaching. He studied Modern History at Brasenose College, and says problems arose during his ‘Indian Imperial History’ course, on which several of his tutors were on sabbatical leave, leading to a shortage, and as a result, a poor standard of teaching. According to the graduate, his resulting poor grade on this course dragged down his overall degree results, forfeiting his chance of a first.

His counsel Roger Mallalieu has backed up these claims, saying that “the standard of teaching was objectively unacceptable.” 

The graduate has stated that the distress of the ordeal has driven him to insomnia and depression, which has made pursuing his dream career even more difficult.

If Saddiqui succeeds in his claims, at least a dozen other students would have basis for a similar case London High Court has been told – students would be able to press for compensation with complaints about inadequate teaching, dodgy acommodation and decisions made by the university which negatively affect students' education. 

However, Oxford University is claiming that Siddiqui has no basis for the claim – particularly since he graduated more than 15 years ago – and is looking to have his claim struck out. They also say that they have already made several allowances for Mr Siddiqui during term time on account of his hayfever.

Although it may seem like extreme measures, this case comes at a time of serious hardship for students – last month over 15,000 students took to the streets to protest education cuts, and a study earlier this year pretty much confirmed that University is officially not worth it. With students having to fork out more and more, maybe we should all be questioning if we got our value for money.

A result on the court case is expected later this month.