SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Parents of 354 school pupils whose exam results were declared invalid because of administrative errors are considering going to court to overturn the decision.
The students in Maastricht were told on Saturday that they would have to resit their VMBO exams because they had not completed the necessary coursework during the year to allow them to take the exam.
The mistakes came to light after a whistleblower tipped off education inspectors about problems with the internal exams and registration procedures at Stichting Limburgs Voortgezet Onderwijs (SLVO), which operates two secondary schools in the southern province.
Education minister Arie Slob told parliament last week that all 354 secondary school pupils may now have to retake their final exams before they can receive their diploma.
As the results will not be announced until August 31, this could prevent them continuing their studies next year. Wouter Geertsen, a lawyer acting for the families, said he see if there were legal avenues to have the exam results declared valid.
‘If that fails, the school needs to rectify the situation over the summer by allowing the children to sit the necessary exams, so they can continue their studies after the holidays,’ he told AD.
‘If necessary we will enforce this through an injunction in the civil courts.’ Geertsen said he would also be seeking compensation for cancelled holidays, the need to purchase extra study materials and students who may need to retake the school year.
Almost 20,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the students to be given their diplomas ‘without further delay’, arguing that they have been ‘the victims of an institution that seriously failed in its primary duty.’
The sentiment was echoed by André Postema, chairman of SLVO, who told NOS: ‘This is the worst thing that can happen to pupils and a school. I understand that the inspectorate needs to do its job, but this has far-reaching implications.
This decision is not in the interests of the children. Punish us, not the students.’ Postema also said two members of the organisation’s board had resigned and an external committee would be set up to oversee school exams in future.
He said a review of the affected exams would be completed on Tuesday, after which students would be told whether or not they will have to retake their exams. Postema claimed that not all students were affected by the administrative problems which had let to ‘incomplete work’ being submitted. (DutchNews)