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Graduate to spend thousands suing university over a “pass” degree

Written by Current Affairs, News

Umer Riaz, a former international student at the University of South Wales tried to seek £200,000 in damages over a “pass” degree in BSc Chemistry, which he received in 2016.

The graduate claims that the University was “unreasonable” not to allow him to push for an honours degree, instead of his received pass grade. He was granted the equivalent of a third class degree, but did not have enough credits for honours.

Mr Riaz, who defended himself in court, said: “A pass doesn’t mean anything to me. Having a pass degree is not going to help me to get anything.

“I wanted to do a PhD in organic chemistry. I was in my final year starting to apply for jobs in Europe, in the Middle East and do further studies.

“I had a couple of emails from Italy and Germany. They said they were impressed by my approach but unfortunately I do not have enough credits.” 

However the university stated, that arguments of “unreasonableness’ do not fall under court’s jurisdiction and fail to particularise “any cause of action”.

Mr Riaz started his BSc hons chemistry degree in 2011, but had to re-sit the first year, as he failed to obtain the amount of credits needed. In 2014, due to poor health, the student claims to have “suffered a fall”  on site, which caused his second stage modules to be deferred until the next academic year.

After first issuing an unsuccessful internal complaint to the university, Mr Riaz took the case to the Office of Independent Adjudicator, where his complaint was dismissed in 2018. Now he has decided to take the case to the High Court, and vows to take it as high as he can, even to the UN. His claim was struck out of Cardiff County Court,  after being described by university as having “no prospect of success’’.

As an international student, each year of the course cost him around £10,000 and he has already spent thousands of pounds on legal action. He defends his decision saying he doesn’t “want to have any regrets a couple of years down the line”.

An official statement from the spokeswoman on the university of South Wales says that they “take all complaints seriously and are keen to uphold our rigorous standards” and that all  “processes have been followed fairly and accurately”. As further legal action is expected, the university is not able to comment further.

Last modified: 28th November 2019

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