Car tutees claim faulty parts drove them to fail

November 30, 2001

Graduates from a prestigious car design course at Coventry University have complained about poor teaching support and facilities.

They say that lecturers were often absent from the taught MA in automotive design and that essential materials for vital projects were not available.

Nearly a quarter of students on the course failed, including overseas students paying up to £7,000 a year.

Some graduates have also complained that they are still owed hundreds of pounds in project expenses, which they said the university promised would be reimbursed.

Fayed Husain, one of the students who graduated despite the problems, complained: "This was meant to be a taught degree, but staff were absent for a lot of the time and they did not tell us when they would be available. Even when they were in, they often refused to see us."

He said tutors "tried to blame the students" when car models that had to be made as part of the course were not finished because materials needed to make them ran out.

Steve Tanswell, one of the students who failed the course, has had an appeal turned down.

He said: "I did all the work necessary, but the lecturers were often unclear about what they were going to assess. There was very little support and many visiting lectures were cancelled."

According to Jonathan Sandys, another graduate who has been compiling complaints about the course, overseas students feel particularly aggrieved.

"They were told this course would turn them into industry-standard designers, but it has been hard for them to achieve that with precious little tuition," he said.

Students who complained about not having their expenses returned for project work had been ignored, he added.

A university spokeswoman said: "We are surprised that students who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the course direct to the press did not take advantage of the weekly feedback sessions held throughout the year with course representatives and students.

"It is true that a proportion of students failed to meet the university's stringent standards at the conclusion of the course and have been referred in some components of their coursework but the opportunity is there for them to present further work in order to retrieve the situation."

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