Mystery of star pupil's rejection

September 1, 1995

A senior lecturer at Staffordshire University has called medical schools' selection processes into question after his son's four As at A level brought him 20 rejections.

Mohammed Al-Mousawi is considering contacting the Commission for Racial Equality after his son's experiences.

Ahmed Al-Mousawi was predicted the four As he achieved in chemistry, maths, physics and general studies, but was rejected by five universities through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and was then rejected by 15 universities through clearing.

University College London told him not even to expect an interview next year after hearing his grades.

Although his son was interviewed by Cambridge, Dr Al-Mousawi, a senior lecturer in engineering, said: "In the first round when we inquired why he was not invited for interview at others, only two of the four schools bothered to reply.

"I would very much like to know how many applicants with expected A grades, and not from ethnic minorities, were rejected without interview."

The student's head teacher said he was "mystified" by the case. David Hardman of Walton High School in Stafford said: "We were surprised that, having had an interview at Cambridge, other universities did not want to interview him and I have written an additional note to try and support his claims in the clearing system."

Chris Myant from the Commission for Racial Equality said: "A fair amount of evidence has been published that suggests that racial discrimination may well be a factor in the ability of a number of people with Asian-style names to get a place at medical schools."

David Eames, secretary and registrar for medicine at London University, said: "All the medical schools in London are very, very careful not to introduce any risks into their processes of racial discrimination." Nuccia Quinn at UCL medical school said it had 1,400 applicants, of whom 700 were interviewed for 200 places.

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