By merit, not luckSeoul’s Younghoon Middle School in Gangbuk District and Daewon Middle School in Gwangjin District will open as international middle schools next March. As the Seoul Metropolitan Board of Education approved the opening of the schools a few days ago, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education made the official announcement.
It is fortunate that we have put an end to the exhausting recent controversies and conflicts surrounding the thorny issue of international middle schools, and discovered ways of raising the nation’s educational standards by differentiating schools and promoting diverse educational opportunities.
Unfortunately, there are still many problems when it comes to the selection criteria for students. They will be selected after going through a first-round screening of school records, and then a second round of individual interviews. However, the successful candidates who make it through the first two steps will ultimately be chosen through a random lottery system.
Unlike existing international schools such as Cheongshim International Academy in Gyeonggi Province and Busan International Middle School, an English interview is not compulsory for prospective students. It seems unreasonable not to test the candidates’ English speaking ability, considering they are quick to claim that they are raising “young global leaders.”
Furthermore, the lottery system is nonsensical. Regardless of students’ efforts, success or failure will depend on the luck of the draw. No students and parents will accept this absurd process.
International middle schools are specially designed to further promote the education of talented young students in order to equip them with international competitiveness. Of course, a student who has enough potential should be selected. It is ridiculous to regard the candidates who pass the process by luck as globally competitive students. It does no good to students, especially from an educational perspective.
The Seoul Education Office should withdraw the lottery selection system for international middle schools before it approves the guidelines for admission on Nov. 6. With such a wrong-headed attitude toward entrance into the schools, it cannot hope to put an end to the private education craze that grips our country.
Giving the schools the right to select students who suit the education goals of the institutions is the only way to satisfy the need for the international middle schools.