Can Students Appeal a Decision Annulling Their Maturity Exam?
In May 2011, the Regional Examination Commission (REC) voided the results of a chemistry maturity exam of a group of students from schools in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, claiming that the student did not write the exam independently. Initially, the students only received general information which did not directly specify the exercises which raised examiners’ doubts.
“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.
The students appealed the REC’s decision to the administrative court. The court ruled, however, that there is no possibility in law to question the annulment of a maturity exam. The Supreme Administrative Court upheld this ruling. It also emphasized that the sheer fact of having one’s maturity certificate does not determine the “right” to be admitted to any studies.
18 students filed complaints with the Constitutional Tribunal questioning the lack of procedures to appeal decisions annulling a maturity exam. They claimed that this gap in law violates, among others, their right to court and education, as well as the rights to protection of dignity and good name.
During the proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal, the director of the Central Examination Commission argued that the decision-making process on the annulment of a maturity exam has multiple stages. “The problem is that the whole procedure had an internal character. The students did not know that such proceedings were ongoing. Nor did they have the possibility of presenting their own arguments,” says advocate Paweł Osik.
In the proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal, representatives of the Prosecutor General claimed that the complaints were illegitimate because the students did not exhaust all available legal measures, for example they did not appeal to a civil court. “In our opinion, a civil court is not proper in this matter. In our constitutional complaints, we indicated a violation of the right to a proper court. And actions of administrative organs are controlled by administrative courts. A common court will not void a decision issued by an administrative body,” says advocate Paweł Osik.
The Constitutional Tribunal postponed the trial until 22nd June 2015.