I WAS offered a seat on MSc Finance and Financial Law at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in September 2005. However, in my case, enrollment was allowed in September 2006. Although I earned distinction in the initial Statistics examination, the alleged bias in the casuistic nature of examination marking became evidentially alerting from the first Law examinations’ result.
The Law paper was examined by three different professors of distinguished law schools, including, of course, SOAS at the time. External professors awarded merit and distinction marks where somehow a professor from SOAS, Mr Richard Alexander, awarded failure. Upon inquiry, the reason given was strict: “You must always answer the question with precision”.
Even a slight deviation in answering at SOAS is intolerable.
Besides having sought the advice on the essay writing skill aspect of the financial module(s) by Professor S. Pasquale on the above-mentioned issue and other academic standards of Law, LTU, the department set up as an authority by SOAS, was consulted.
Their advice was followed in five law examinations/assignments where four were to be judged by the same professor, Mr Alexander, alone.
My identity was known in only one where I failed. However, surprisingly, in the other four papers I was awarded close merit (one) and merit marks (remaining).
The reason on the emphasis is that the approach in all five examinations was purposefully unanimous and consistent. However, the reason of failure was given or perhaps rested on the conflict between the advice of the LTU and the above-mentioned finance professor.
Somehow not being enough in the following module, another finance teacher, Mr A. Fabrizio, awarded mere pass for ‘focusing too much on the question’, followed by another mere pass stating an unfathomable excuse. The matter obviously proceeded to the court. However, perhaps for the purpose of expediency, it remained restricted to academic authorities and/or academic values.
The stagnating aspect of the case was the fact that the barrister, having filed the claim of his choice, later changed his opinion and had my funding revoked. In his stated opinion, 51 to 60 per cent chance of success for a civil claim was unsatisfactory.
I had to return to Pakistan and the English court decided in SOAS’s favour. The request from the court was not for mere damages alone but for the specific performance as well as the degree.
I am still hopeful of getting my degree. Newspaper readers’ opinions are most welcome.
JAHANZEB JAWAID Karachi