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Is math exam for disabled students unconstitutional?

The HFHR has asked the Human Rights Defender to consider requesting the constitutional review of the requirement regarding the obligation to take the mathematics part of the matura, secondary school leaving examination, imposed on students with disabilities.

Under current regulations, students must score at least 30% in maths in order to pass the whole examination and obtain the matura certificate. This threshold may prove to be unattainable by persons who suffer from disorders of mathematical cognition due to a disability or dyscalculia. At the same time such disorders does not prevent the affected individuals from taking on education in areas that are directly unrelated to mathematics such as a philology or arts. The provisions of the Education System Act do not introduce any exceptions from that rule, which could be applied in extraordinary circumstances.

“In our opinion, these provisions do not adequately protect rights of persons with disabilities as they fail to guarantee them their right to study and have access to education. Moreover, the law provides for no proper adjustments for persons with disabilities who are incapable of passing all mandatory modules of the matura exam due to consequences of a disability”, reads the HFHR letter to the HRD.

The letter emphasises that pursuant to the Polish Constitution everybody has the right to education, and state authorities are obliged to ensure universal and equal access to education for their citizens. Furthermore, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires the State Parties to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education on an equal basis with others. Access should be provided by the introduction of “reasonable accommodation”, among other things.

“It needs to be considered whether the applicable regulations on the matura examination and the accommodation available to persons with disabilities during exams suitably respect the disabled persons’ right to education, as expressed in Article 24 of the Convention and article 70 of the Polish Constitution”, the HFHR states in the letter.

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