Autonomous schools granted leeway on admissions

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Autonomous schools granted leeway on admissions

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology will grant autonomous high schools authority over student admissions after the schools failed to meet their targets for next year’s incoming freshman class, the government said yesterday.

Launched in 2009, autonomous high schools are allowed to raise tuition, admit students regardless of standardized test scores and draw up their own curriculum. But after autonomous high schools across the country failed to meet their targets for next year’s freshmen class, education experts urged the ministry to give schools more freedom over admissions.

According to a plan proposed yesterday by Chungbuk National University education professor Na Min-ju at the request of the ministry, autonomous schools would be allowed to select students via a “self-oriented study admission program,” in which students are selected based on their GPAs from middle school and an interview.

Such admission standards are already used at foreign language and international high schools but were previously banned at autonomous high schools. Now, the ministry plans to completely abolish the ban and allow autonomous high schools to choose students based on GPA.

However, the ministry said it wouldn’t allow the self-oriented study admission program to be implemented at autonomous high schools in Seoul. Instead, schools in the nation’s capital will choose students through a lottery system.

To resolve the student shortage at autonomous schools, the ministry will offer financial subsidies to schools that fail to fill 60 percent of the open spots in their incoming freshman classes. Schools that fail to meet the admission quota for two years in a row will see their autonomous school designations cancelled. The ministry said it will finalize these plans after collecting opinions from education experts, and the changes will be implemented in March.

By Kim Mi-ju, Kim Seong-tak []
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