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Different subject syllabi, unfair requirements and discrimination

2023-10-24 13:10:00

The inquiry revealed a number of irregularities with regard to the process of admission to examinations. The recently concluded scrutiny that had been launched by the university's executive acting in matters of ethics at second instance found that irregularities occurred in five areas. Several students, including the student involved in the ethics case, were not allowed to take a make-up quiz that constituted a condition for admission to the exam, while another student was. Therefore several students suffered discrimination.

Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem

Once the ethics procedure was closed at second instance, the competent executive of the university opened an ex officio irregularity procedure to clarify the circumstances of the examination case investigated under the ethics procedure. The irregularity procedure does not examine whether the conduct of the persons involved in the case violated the ethical rules of the university, but whether those involved complied with the requirements set out in the university’s regulations with respect to the fulfilment of subject requirements, admission to the examination and the administration of the exam. The question was therefore not whether the persons concerned acted ethically, but whether they behaved in accordance with the rules relating to their job requirements.

The University conducted the scrutiny pursuant to the regulation On the rules of treating irregularities. The final decisions taken in the ethics procedures and the circumstances established in the course of the investigation were treated as facts by the irregularity procedure, but the committee tasked with the inquiry was entitled to ask the employees involved in the cases to make statements and to request additional information from them in writing, which it did. The parties concerned cooperated fully during the inquiry, with one exception.

The ethics case has been the subject of highly publicised information that generally portrays Corvinus University in a negative light. As the irregularity procedure had been closed, the results of the inquiry will now be published, in accordance with data protection rules.

The investigation identified irregularities in five areas.

  1. In the case of the subject to which the ethics procedure related, the subject syllabus was available both in Neptun and Moodle simultaneously, with different data content, in two different versions. As this is a widespread bad practice, it is considered an irregularity of minor gravity.
  2. The subject requirements of the subject syllabus available in the Moodle system and applied in practice were substantively flawed and discriminatory. The application of the demotivating rule that even if the student is granted a signature on the basis of the quizzes and could take the exam, he/she can only get a fail grade in the subject if he/she does not meet the minimum requirements regarding the homework assignments is against the principles of the pedagogical profession. In addition, the statement in the syllabus that the later the students take it, the more difficult the exam will be, as this allows the students more time to prepare for the exam, breaches the principle of equal opportunities. This irregularity is considered to be of medium gravity because of the breach of the principles of equal opportunities.
  3. In Neptun and Moodle, different colleagues were simultaneously listed as subject leaders, and this was not checked; on that score there were medium irregularities on the responsibility side and minor irregularities on the administrative side.
  4. Communication with third parties, including parents, on student matters is not permitted under the Study and Examination Regulations. Breach of this rule is also a matter of great concern from a GDPR point of view and a breach of the law; in this case, the irregularity is of medium gravity.
  5. To be admitted to the exam, students were required to pass at least eight quizzes, each with a score of at least 70%. During the semester, several students requested from the lecturers in question that they be granted a make-up-quiz in order to gain admission to the exam. The opportunity of writing a make-up-quiz was not granted, inter alia, to the student involved in the ethics case, with reference to the content of the syllabus, while at the same time a make-up-quiz was granted to another student, as a result of a decision taken by the lecturer, at his own discretion. A serious irregularity was committed by bypassing the equity procedure, because one of the students was granted a concession during the study period that was not included in the subject syllabus. In addition, discrimination happened as well, as this concession was applied to only one student during the semester. The lecturer therefore committed discrimination against the students.

Consequences

The relevant persons exercising employer’s rights have been notified on the resolution of the irregularity procedure. It is the responsibility of these persons to take the necessary measures vis-à-vis the employees concerned.

The case described above also highlights that the priority for the coming months is to develop a clearer, more secure operational framework for the academic community. To address the problems identified, the Presidential Committee adopted a comprehensive action plan to improve the functioning of the university, to perfect the system.

“Corvinus has previously provided information on this topic in the following articles (with Hungarian versions)

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GEN.:2024.07.22. - 05:40:24