General Proposal on Reasonable Accommodation during Unified National Examinations
On February 2, 2021, the Public Defender addressed the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia and the National Assessment and Examinations Center of Georgia with a general proposal relating to the fulfillment of the obligation of reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities.
In 2020, three students with hearing problems applied to the Public Defender of Georgia regarding improper accommodation during unified master's exams. The applicants noted that giving them extra time to complete a listening task and allowing them to sit close to a speaker when taking a foreign language test, could not meet their individual needs. In addition, the applicants referred to improper communication between them and the National Examinations Center relating to their special needs.
The examination of the cases made it clear that despite the efforts of the National Examinations Center to address the needs of persons with disabilities, in some cases measures taken to ensure reasonable accommodation did not fully meet the individual needs of students.
According to the general proposal, it is necessary to introduce an individual, comprehensive procedure for communication with persons with disabilities and to determine, in each specific case, the measures that will adequately respond to the special needs of the person concerned.
Accordingly, the Public Defender addressed the Ministry of Education and the National Examinations Center with a general proposal and called on them to:
- Specify, at the normative level, a procedure for dialogue and comprehensive communication with the party concerned, when determining a reasonable accommodation measure;
- Ensure that there are no barriers in the legislation that preclude the selection of a reasonable accommodation form in case of late application, except when it is virtually impossible to implement a reasonable accommodation measure in the remaining time;
- When selecting a reasonable accommodation measure, take into account the relationship between the specifics of the subject of the exam and the form of disability of the student.