Educators critical of website advising students to challenge results
A new website run by a legal firm is advising secondary school and higher education students on their chances of successfully challenging their final results, which the education sector calls a stunt
‘A legal market’
The initiative is aimed at secondary school students who have received a B or C certificate. Those with a C certificate must repeat a year, and those with a B certificate are advised to choose a different study track.
The website also targets higher education students who failed to pass one or more courses or who didn’t finish an internship successfully. On the website, students answer a series of questions concerning their end-of-year results. They then receive advice on how successful they would be in challenging those results, from “a small chance” to “100%”. If the site considers a student’s chance to be good, it advises them to contact the legal firm.
“I have 17 years of experience in education cases and always got the same questions, so I looked for a way to give answers in a more streamlined way,” Vangeel told Het Nieuwsblad.
The education sector has accused the lawyer of using a stunt to reel in students as clients. “This creates a distrust of class councils,” said Lieven Boeve, head of the Catholic education network. In secondary education, class councils – made up of teachers and advisors – evaluates challenges to results.
Education minister Hilde Crevits said that students and parents don’t need a lawyer to challenge results. “It’s a shame that some people want to turn exam disputes into a legal market,” she said.
Photo courtesy UGent