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Lottery admission system goes against purpose of int`l middle schools

Lottery admission system goes against purpose of int`l middle schools

Posted June. 15, 2013 04:59,   


The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has announced measures to “improve” the admission system for international middle schools following admission irregularities involving Younghoon International Middle School and Daewon International Middle School. Under the measures, the international middle schools will select new students through a lottery system, eliminating all subjective evaluations. If implemented, the new system will likely be called “Lotto” admission.

One of the things that foreigners find strange about Korea is the lottery admission system for private elementary schools. Parents and children smile or cry over the results of their lottery. International middle schools are special purpose education institutions whose goal is to nurture globally competitive talents by giving all classes in English except for some subjects such as Korean. The idea of selecting new students through lottery with no consideration of the schools’ purposes and applicants’ scholastic abilities is outrageous. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education argues that the purpose of international middle schools is not to admit good talents but select those with good potentials and nurture them into superior talents. However, such a system is nothing but a stopgap measure and is not convincing at all.

Clearly, it is a crime to admit certain students by taking bribes or rigging their records. Those involved in the irregularities should be harshly punished. Those who are involved in the bribery scandal at Younghoon International Middle School should be indicted in accordance with the results of the education office’s inspection and the prosecution’s investigation. Introducing a lottery admission system to all international middle schools just because some of them caused problems is like using a cannon to kill a mosquito.

Arguably, the excessive competition to enter international middle schools is caused by high demands by parents who are not satisfied with the current equalization education system and want high-level and differentiated education for their children. Imposing a uniform education system while turning a blind eye to such a reality will prompt students from rich families to go overseas for education. Korea needs international schools that would keep them in the country and attract foreign students. In the era of globalization, Korea’s education should remain local.

If the problem lies not in international schools but in admission irregularities, the solution should be found in preventing recurrences of corruption. Lottery is never a right admission system and will only end up being taken advantage of by those who oppose international schools. Moon Yong-lin, Seoul’s education superintendent, should think twice about the lottery system, rather than simply saying that he opposes the abolition of international schools.