The Oxford University in London was dragged to court following a suit by an Indian-origin student, Faiz Siddiqui, 38, accusing the reputed institution of "hopelessly bad" and "boring" teaching due to which he allegedly got a second class degree leading to a loss of earnings in his career as a lawyer.
The university moved the High Court in London to have the case thrown out. But an 18-page judgement by Justice Kerr ruled that Oxford indeed is answerable, the Press Trust of India reported citing the Sunday Times.
Siddiqui has accused the university staff of "negligent" teaching of his specialist course on Indian imperial history due to which he got a 2:1 back in 2000. His barrister Roger Mallalieu told the court in London that four of the seven members of the teaching staff of Asian history were on a sabbatical leave during the 1999-2000 academic year. The 38-year-old had studied modern history at Brasenose College at the university.
According to the news report, Siddiqui thinks that he could have had an extremely successful career as an international commercial lawyer if he was not given low grades forcing him to take the legal route. The student's legal team focused on the "boring" standard of tuition that he received from David Washbrook, an expert on the history of southern India between the 18th and 20th centuries.
Siddiqui is suffering from depression and insomnia due to his "disappointing examination results." He had trained as a solicitor after college.
"There is no personal criticism of Dr Washbrook. Our target is on the university's back for allowing this to happen," barrister Mallalieu told the court claiming that the expert historian's teaching suffered due to "intolerable" pressure of the shortage of staff on the course.
However, Oxford University argued that the claim was baseless and should be dismissed since Siddiqui had graduated from the college more than 16 years ago.
Professor Alan Smithers, an education expert at Buckingham University, told the Sunday Times: "This is a test case and in future universities will have to ensure that what they do stands up to critical inspection in the courts. In the past, universities have been quite cavalier about the quality of their teaching. If Mr Siddiqui wins, this will open the door to a flood of other students who do not think they got the degree they deserved because of issues about the teaching they received."