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In 2016-2017 there are 391 VUB students holding the reflex statute. This means that they can apply for flexible study measures due to special circumstances such as a disability, chronic illness or learning disorders. The management of these flexible measures will be greatly simplified starting from 1 May through the introduction of a new online tool for professors.

 

 

Flexible study at the university covers a wide range of individual circumstances. Working students as well as high performance sports students are also covered by the reflex statute but are not included in the afore mentioned figures. Theoretically, any significant change of circumstances that affects a student’s life can earn the eligibility of a reflex status: a pregnancy, commitment as student representative, even having a career as an international model or deejay. The VUB wants every student to develop according to his or her special talents. As an open-minded, liberal university we strive to even offer flexibility regarding well-established religious or tradition-based holidays that students may follow.

 

Equal opportunities custom-tailored

The essence of the reflex status is to facilitate equal opportunity in education by making it possible for all students to study on equal terms irrespective of their circumstances. The core principles of reasonable flexible measures are well established: feasibility, acceptability, justifiability. They grant derogations from exam rules to individual students under specific circumstances. These derogations should render examinations more feasible for the student, remain acceptable to the lecturer and be justifiable to fellow students and the education institution.

 

Most professors rely on the expertise of the VUB study guidance team who have years of experience in dealing with the reflex status. The right to reasonable accommodation is also legally stipulated in the UN Convention for people with disabilities. The statute has no fixed package, like any other guidance it is tailor-made. For instance, more time or tolerance for spelling in dyslexia, the free choice to a place in the examination room or additional explanation to the exam questions for students with autism. Visually impaired students can take the exam orally or on their own computer equipped with Braille software.

 

The reflex statute also transcends the purely educational. For students with mobility impairments, the VUB study guidance service could arrange with the infrastructure services to have e.g. less stiff, easier to open doors in the car park.

 

Little change for students

The new online tool is intended to help professors in keeping the overview. Students may continue using the low-threshold operation of the Study Guidance Centre. To request flexible measures under the reflex status they can either send an email to begeleiding@vub.ac.be, show up in person at the Study Guidance Centre, or book an appointment online via the student portal MY.VUB. This can be done anytime during the academic year.

 

The next step is an interview with a VUB student psychologist who is responsible for receiving the official certificates from the doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or orthopedist, as well as following the student’s internal administration. For each examination period, the student must notify the university which subjects they wish to have covered under the reflex statute before the respective deadlines of 1 December, 1 May and 15 July. The student psychologist will then contact the lecturers.

 

In the new tool, every teacher has an overview of the applications of his or her students. It is possible to select applications per box and to convert them to Excel lists that can easily be carried into the exam. Teachers can indicate whether the proposed measures are acceptable, or they may first interview the student or the counselling service where appropriate. Students receive via their student email an “automatic notification” from the study guidance centre regarding their reflex statute application: ‘awarded’, ‘rejected’ or ‘contact the teacher’. In the latter case, the student should contact their lecturer directly for further consideration.

 

More information on the reflex status is available on MY.VUB.