Oxford Graduate Sues University For $1.2 Million Over Bad Teaching

A graduate of Britain's Oxford University is suing his alma mater for $1.2 million (£1 million). The former student claims the quality of teaching he received was so poor that it has affected his career and his earning potential. The graduate studied at the prestigious university 16 years ago.

Faiz Siddiqui is suing Oxford University in the United Kingdom's High Court. Siddiqui told the court that if the teaching during his degree had been better, he would have enjoyed a career as a commercial lawyer and the income that would entail, the Independent reports.

The case centers on Siddiqui's final results. He graduated from Oxford with a 2:1 degree -- the second highest grade available. His lawsuit alleges that "appallingly bad" teaching during his time in college prevented him from getting better grades. Siddiqui believes if he achieved a first-class degree, he would have been more successful in his subsequent career.

Siddiqui is a trained lawyer who studied modern history at Oxford. He claims that poor quality tuition while at Brasenose College prevented him from getting better grades and had a permanent effect on his health and career prospects. Siddiqui suffers from insomnia and depression that have made it difficult for him to hold down a job. He blames his college exam results for his health problems.

The Royal Courts of Justice, London, UK
Britain's High Court will decide the case [Image by VictorHuang/iStock]

The lawsuit claims that the tutoring provided to Siddiqui and several other students who studied a course on Indian imperial history was inadequate and affected their grades. Siddiqui's lawyer, Roger Mallalieu, claimed that 13 students who took the subject got their lowest grade or joint lowest grade in that course.

Siddiqui studied Indian imperial history during his final year at Oxford, and he alleges that the teaching staff was on sabbatical and therefore unable to teach and provide students with adequate education on the topic. Four of the seven staff responsible for teaching the course were on leave while Siddiqui studied it.

Oxford University is disputing the case and wants the court to throw out Siddiqui's claim for loss of earnings. Siddiqui blames his failure to become a successful commercial lawyer on his treatment while at Oxford. The university says the case is groundless and wants Britain's High Court to throw out the case. The university also claims that since such a long time has passed since Siddiqui graduated, the lawsuit should not be considered by the court. Siddiqui left Oxford 16 years ago.

British Judges In Wigs
Siddiqui's lawsuit could open the way for more graduates to sue [Image by oversnap/iStock]

Siddiqui claimed the teaching he received was "boring," according to the London Times. There are concerns that if Siddiqui's case against Oxford is successful, it could allow similar cases against British universities. A very similar case was taken by a graduate against Queen's University, Belfast several years again. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out.

The lawsuit not only criticizes the quality of teaching at Oxford but claims accommodation was "shoddy." Students at Oxford live in one of more than 30 colleges in the city. Siddiqui attended Brasenose College. Oxford colleges provided accommodation, social events and, in some cases, tuition. Siddiqui is suing Oxford University and not his former college.

Britain's High Court is due to decide the case later this month. Siddiqui's claims that poor quality teaching affected his mental health and prevented him from getting a high paying job could encourage other college graduates to take similar cases if the High Court finds in his favor.

Oxford University has denied any responsibility for its former student's loss of earnings or his health problems. Oxford said it had made allowances for Siddiqui when hay fever prevented him from taking exams but they did not agree that tuition had been poor. The High Court will decide if Oxford is responsible for Siddiqui's failure to obtain a first class degree.

[Featured Image by oversnap/iStock]