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Any high school in Seoul open to students in 2010

Feb 28,2007
Starting in 2010, students who live in Seoul can apply to any high school in the city, including the highly rated ones south of the Han River, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education announced yesterday.
Students in Seoul will be allowed to choose four of the 204 schools in the city, according to the education office. At least two must be in their own district.
If the student is not chosen from a random lottery to be admitted to one of their citywide choices, he or she will be up for selection into one of the two schools in the district. If the student doesn’t get into one of those schools, the education office will assign a school based on its proximity to the student’s home, religious preferences and other factors, the office said.
Currently, students are required to attend high school in the district where they live. There are 11 such districts in Seoul, and the assignments within the districts are made randomly.
Each of the city’s high schools will be required to select 20 to 30 percent of their class from all parts of the city, and 30 to 40 percent from their own school district. The other spots will be reserved for education office assignments. The office said the exact percentages will be determined in October. It also confirmed that students who live south of the Han River will not be forced to attend less-desirable schools north of the Han River.
“In a trial test, students from south of the Han River were not sent to schools in northern Seoul if the proportion was set at 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively. But we will conduct a thorough trial test again to set final proportions,” said an official at the education office who declined to be named. According to the education office, schools in Gangnam have a student shortage of 1,500 to 2,000 students per year.
“Although the system was not initiated to reduce housing prices in Gangnam areas, we expect it will partially contribute,” said another official at the education office.
The education office said 74 percent of teachers and 69 percent of parents approved of the new system in a survey. The education office said it would invest more in the unpopular schools to decrease the gap.
“When each school runs its own unique educational programs, the new system will be truly meaningful,” said Park Seon-yee, vice president of a parents’ civic group.


By Lee Sang-eon, Park Su-ryon JoongAng Ilbo [soejung@joongang.co.kr]


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