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Individual Equality Measures

Individual equality measures are designed to make sure that no student is at a disadvantage in producing course work or in examinations. (For questions pertaining to the organization of your studies, please contact your instructor directly.) To ensure equality, special provisions have been included in the General Rules and Regulations for teaching-oriented and non-teaching-oriented Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. The university thus follows the legal guidelines that have been promulgated by legislative authorities:

These laws state that universities must respond to the special needs of their members, for example those with children or with special care-giver obligations. They must also contribute to supporting their students socially. In their sphere, they must promote cultural and fine-arts interests as well as sports. They must be mindful of the special needs of disabled members of the university community and they must implement necessary measures in all areas to ensure the integration of these persons. The university must also take suitable equality measures that enable everyone to carry out their studies and complete exams. These measures must be equivalent in value and they must ensure that studying and taking exams is free from discrimination and allows everyone’s equal participation in studying at the university. (This is detailed in the Brandenburgisches Hochschulgesetz (BbgHG) § 3 Abs. 4).

The exact wording on equality measures can be found in the General Rules and Regulations for teaching-oriented (BAMALA-O, § 15) and non teaching-oriented Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs (BAMA-O, § 15).

Regulations on equality measures apply to students during pregnancy, students with children, or family members requiring care, as well as students with a disability or with a chronic or mental condition. Detailed information on the specific procedure for submitting an application follows below. The procedure is differentiated between different groups:

Individual equality measures for students with health issues and a disability

What are individual equality measures?

Individual equality measures are designed to make sure that students with health issues or a disability are not at a disadvantage when producing course work or examinations.

The word "individual" makes clear that equality measures are tailored to the individual abilities of the student while at the same time making sure that they are in accordance with the specific expectations of the applicable field of study. Thus, individual equality measures cannot be "universal" provisions given by the university or by the applicant. As a general framework for equality measures, the following applies:

  • Modifications are possible with regard to how course and examination requirements are met.
  • These modifications may pertain to the kind, form, and under special circumstances also the content of required coursework or exams.
  • The expectation that course and examination requirements must be met remains unaltered.
  • Thus these measures do not impact the evaluation of examination results or diplomas and certificates.

Who can apply for equality measures?

Those students who can provide evidence that their disability corresponds to the definition of disability as stated in the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-BRK) may apply for equality measures.

People with disabilities are "those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others." (A short-term illness does not constitute a right to equality measures.)

The definition of disability differentiates between visible and invisible disabilities. Therefore, students with chronic or mental conditions may also apply for equality measures.

How can I apply for equality measures and how do I provide evidence of eligibility?

Applications are submitted in writing, and they should be filed by the student as early as possible and with the examination board of the program/s of study. Please note that as a rule, equality measures cannot be applied retroactively. Equality measures must be requested and granted prior to an examination or before course requirements are due.

Procedure:

1. The student files an application with the director of the examination board of his/her program of study. The following materials must be submitted:

  • a cover letter that explains the request clearly and with specific details regarding your studies
  • a completed Application (PDF)
  • evidence of the disability, e.g. a disability pass as well as a current and meaningful statement by a medical specialist or therapist. This statement should refer specifically to the course of study and provide specific suggestions on how the disadvantage can be equalized.

2. The examination board will make a decision regarding the application. The sole decision power lies with the examination board.

3. The student receives a written notification of the decision. If the application was approved, the student must pass on the approved application to the University’s examination office.

What can equality measures look like specifically?

The following examples show what equality measures can look like more concretely. This list can never be exhaustive, as equality measures apply to specific situations and are therefore always individual:

  • additional time during exams, tests, and to complete papers
  • a separate room for taking tests
  • making available technical or personal aids
  • permission to drop courses past the official deadlines if the student has provided the required short-notice drop form by the time the exam takes place (doctor’s note required)
  • permission to make up work or to submit alternative work
  • changing the form of an exam

What can I do if I am temporarily unable to take an exam?

You do not need to apply for equality measures if you are temporarily unable to take an exam. If this is the case, you must simply provide a doctor’s note. This note together with the attachment to the medical note must be submitted to the University’s Central Examination Office within a period of seven days. All further information can be found on the attachment form.

Where can I go for a consultation?

As noted, the decision regarding your application for equality measures is made by the examination board in your field of study. We therefore recommend that you get in contact with this office before the final steps of submitting your application.

Prior to this step, please feel free to contact the representative for students with disabilities with your questions regarding equality measures, but also concerning the organization and planning of your studies. The representative works closely with the Central Examination Office. All conversations are confidential. Whether or not you want to apply for equality measures is your personal decision.

Individual equality measures for students during pregnancy, with children, or with family members requiring care

What are individual equality measures?

Equality measures help students who are pregnant or who have family responsibilities (ranging from child care to care of family members) to balance their studies and their special situation. The life situation and study conditions can vary greatly, and so can the possible solutions. Individually tailored equality measures take the special situation of a student with family responsibilities into account. Universities have committed to this goal in the federal state of Brandenburg’s quality assurance concerning equality measures for students during pregnancy and with care responsibilities.

Who can apply for equality measures?

All pregnant students as well as all students who must balance their studies with family responsibilities, such as being the single care provider for a child/children or who are responsible for the care of a close family member, may apply for equality measures.

How can I apply for equality measures and how do I provide evidence of eligibility?

Applications are submitted in writing, and they should be filed by the student as early as possible and with the examination board of the program/s of study in which he or she wishes to make use of the equality measures.

Procedure:

1. The student files an application with the director of the examination board of his/her program of study. The following materials must be submitted:

  • a completed Application (PDF)
  • evidence of the eligibility, e.g. a confirmation of illness by a doctor, a letter specifying your required level of care, a maternity health passport (Mutterpass), the birth certificate of your child, or proof of the form and extent of regular child care

2. The examination board will make a decision regarding the application.

3. The student forwards the approved application (including all documents used to prove eligibility) to the University’s examination office.

Representatives from the field of study are encouraged to inform students of their right to equality measures and to discuss with the student specific options and solutions pertaining to their individual situation.

What can equality measures look like specifically?

The following examples show what equality measures can look like more concretely. This list can never be exhaustive, as equality measures depend on the specific situation and are therefore always individual:

  • alternate examination times
  • additional time to complete papers or other course requirements or exams
  • a change in the form of an exam during pregnancy (a change in the form of an exam is not possible for students providing care for family members)
  • option to be allowed additional absences in classes that require attendance or the option to make up for missed classes by submitting alternative work
  • support in need-based planning of courses (e.g. having required courses during regular child-care hours)

What do I do if I cannot attend an examination that I am registered for due to the acute illness of a child in my care?

If your child falls ill and you are unable to attend a scheduled examination or submit work on time, you have the right to withdraw from the examination due to special reasons, just as it would be the case if you yourself would fall ill. To do so, you must submit a doctor’s note regarding your child’s illness to the academic office. This note is regarded equal to your own inability to take the exam. To participate in the next examination, you must again register for it. In case of papers or other course work, you must contact the examiner and arrange a possible extension of the deadline.