Bad luck of the draw

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Bad luck of the draw

A cold snap swept the country yesterday adding to the misery of sixth graders hoping to secure a place at either Younghoon and Daewon middle schools, which will turn into international middle schools next year.

Hundreds of applicants subjected themselves to the lottery-like application process: picking table tennis balls. Depending on which ball you chose, you either got in or didn’t.

The admission process has been criticized for being similar to a lottery and rightly so. The entire selection process was absurd and awkward. The final decision on admissions is basically a random draw, following the document screening and one-to-one interview.

In the end, success or failure to get admitted rests on pure luck.

The victims are the students. It was distressing to see hardworking, intelligent young students forced to accept rejection after working hard at their studies.

The decision to make applicants decide their fate by selecting a table tennis ball was infantile and inconsiderate.

Surely luck should not be the decider of one’s fate, especially if a person has worked hard to prove their academic prowess. What kind of lesson is this for young people so early in their careers, that life is a matter of luck and not merit?

If so, it would be better to select students in a draw from the beginning and completely skip the document screening process and interview.

We can only hope that the schools won’t repeat this mistake in the future and fail other deserving students on the basis of random selection of inanimate objects.

The concern was there could be a sharp increase in the number of applicants if the schools eliminated document screening and interviews. However, this would not be the case if schools raise the bar for qualified applicants, such as only looking at students recommended by their primary school principals.

The selection of students should be left to the discretion of the international middle schools. Schools know best how to pick qualified and talented students. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education should scrap this inept lottery system, which was devised to prevent private education fever to get into international middle schools. Only then will international middle schools be able to offer a diversified and high-quality education, which is the main objective anyway.
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