Nigerian medical student Emmanuel Eneh is accusing the medical faculty at the University of Tampere of withholding his medical licentiate degree. Eneh was told that his study programme had expired when he failed his final exam after the 17th attempt last autumn.
“It’s just not possible. I was about to graduate and become a doctor. I can’t start all over again. This is an outrageous decision,” Eneh told Yle’s Silminnäkijä (Eyewitness) investigative programme.
Now 50 years old and a Finnish citizen, Eneh had been studying medicine in Tampere for more than 20 years. During that time he had received 378 study credits. A medical licentiate degree requires 360 credits.
Professor: Racism the issue
Eneh was admitted to study without completing the entrance exam as a quota student. The Ministry of Education allowed the faculty of medicine to admit 1–2 students annually from developing countries into the medical licentiate programme.
Professor Antti Hervonen taught at the faculty until last year during the time that Eneh studied there. “This is a blonde-haired blue-eyed faculty, and it’s very rare to see anything else,” Hervonen told Yle.
According to Eneh, one reason for his problem at the university is his skin colour. Professor Hervonen said the issue is racism.
Another former Tampere university professor currently lecturing at the University of Tallinn, Tero Autio, has arrived at a similar conclusion.
“I have worked in universities all over the continent. This is a very unique case, and I hope the authorities wake up,” Autio said.
Autio wrote to the university on Eneh’s behalf in 2010. However, like Eneh's status, a meeting convened to discuss the case was inconclusive, he said.
According to the Silminnäkijä programme, Eneh had completed on-the-job training at many hospitals during his course of studies.
Medical authorities interviewed at two of the hospitals in Kaivanto and Valkeakoski said that he performed his duties in much the same way as other trainees.
Before coming to Finland to study, Eneh had completed two degrees in his home country: one in microbiology and another in theology.
Retired professor Hervonen said that in his opinion there was no intellectual deficiency in Eneh’s case.
The medical faculty would not comment on the case since it is currently before the courts.