14 schools face new screening rulesThe screening process for 14 regular high schools will change beginning in the first semester of 2011, following a revision in student admissions policy for special-purpose high schools, the Education Ministry announced yesterday.
The 14 schools will include autonomous private high schools and other general high schools.
The ministry said that the change aims to reduce the dependence on outside education in Korea, including hagwon, or private education institutes.
From 2011, the schools will first screen students by middle school grades, then evaluate them by conducting interviews. Outside test scores, including TEPS and Toefl, which are seen to reflect study at hagwon, as well as awards from outside education competitions will not be considered in the admissions process.
The 14 schools include Sangsan High School in North Jeolla, Korean Minjok Leadership Academy in Gangwon, Gwangyang Jecheol High School in South Jeolla and Hana Academy Seoul, among others.
The ministry added, however, that the weight to be given to grades and interviews, as well as which subject grades will be evaluated, will be left to each school to decide.
For example, Hana Academy said that 60 percent of its evaluation will be decided by student grades; 20 percent will be determined by the interview; and 20 percent will be based on the students’ study plans and teacher recommendations. Pocheol High School in North Gyeongsang will base 80 percent of its decisions on grades, and 20 percent on the interview process.
There were some expressions of concern following the announcement. Kim Jae-young, vice principal of Ansan Dongsan Christian High School, said the new policy will force schools to give up their individual curriculums and instead concentrate solely on raising students’ grades.
“If only school grades are reflected, students from outside the key school districts like Gangnam and Mok-dong might be at a disadvantage,” he said.
By Cho Jae-eun [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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