Educators decry SNU’s 2015 admissions plan

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Educators decry SNU’s 2015 admissions plan

High school teachers publicly criticized Seoul National University’s admission plan for next year, arguing that the institution is trying to draw more students from prestigious private academies than those from ordinary schools.

An association of high school teachers issued a statement yesterday demanding a revision of SNU’s recently released 2015 admission plan.

The members of the association, which consists of about 10,000 educators, many of whom also act as university guidance counselors, said in their statement that the plan favors students attending special purpose high schools, which include foreign-language high schools, science high schools or autonomous high schools.

Despite high tuition, competition for admission to these institutions is fierce, and the number of graduates from these schools who go on to attend elite universities is high.

The most controversial point in SNU’s admission plan is perhaps the university’s policy of awarding more points to those students who take two advanced-level science tests in the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

Currently, students must select to take four CSAT science tests, with each test having two levels - a more advanced level 2, or a more basic level 1. While most of students attending ordinary schools opt to take level 1, some more academically inclined students challenge for level 2.

Teachers say the state-run SNU is abandoning the government’s advice to select students from diverse backgrounds and is discriminating against students who attend ordinary high schools. “We found that SNU’s 2015 admission policy awards more points to the applicants who take the level 2 science tests,” said Kim Dong-chun, the leader of the teachers’ association and a high school teacher in Daejeon. “In many ordinary schools, teachers don’t have time to cover the difficult level 2 tests due to lack of manpower.

“Special-purpose high schools have enough teachers [help students prepare for] the level 2 tests,” Kim added. “So giving additional points to the applicants who took the level 2 science tests means [SNU is awarding] privileges to only those who attend special purpose schools.”

Still, SNU admission officials said they want to attract students who took advanced-level sciences.

“We are asking students to learn science of in-depth level if they want to enter the SNU science departments,” said Kim Gyeong-beom, an SNU admission official. “Starting this year, ordinary high schools will be able to exercise more autonomy in their curriculums and add more science classes.”

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