Does a Student Have the Rights to Appeal?
At the request of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, advocate Paweł Osik works on a case of students from Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. Four years ago, the results on the chemistry maturity exam of more than 50 high school students in this town were annulled. The students were accused of cheating. “For those students, annulling the results of the exam had dire consequences. Without an opportunity to appeal this decision, the students were not able to apply for studies, and their plans for the upcoming years became unrealistic,” says advocate Paweł Osik.
According to advocate Paweł Osik, it should be a standard that students have the right to initiate a procedure of external verification of exam results. “It is the law maker’s obligation to take into account the fact that mistakes in assessment can occur and it is necessary to guarantee a procedure for questioning erroneous decisions,” advocate Paweł Osik stated.
Appealing against maturity exam results is made more difficult by the fact that the law, among others, does not create an opportunity to freely access exam documentation. In advocate Paweł Osik’s view, it is an odd situation. „As a defense counsel, I have access to, for example, confidential documents which have been gathered in the course of proceedings. Access to those documents is clearly regulated,” he says. “When it comes to appealing the results of the maturity exam, the situation is completely different. Students can only review their work, they cannot however take pictures or make notes,” advocate Paweł Osik explains.
In 2013, the group of students from Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski filed complaints with the Constitutional Tribunal. The case is pending. “Until now, the law makers have taken no action to introduce a procedure for appealing the results of the maturity exam. I hope that the Constitutional Tribunal will, as fast as possible, consider this problem and that the ruling will assess the unconstitutionality of those regulations,” says advocate Paweł Osik.
More details on the case of the students and the submitted constitutional complaint are available here.