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Four elite schools fail assessments

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Monday that four of the city’s de facto elite schools would face public hearings for failing to meet standards in this year’s evaluation.

The autonomous private high schools, introduced during the previous Lee Myung-bak administration, are institutions given greater autonomy over curriculum in exchange for less financial support from the government. Each school is subject to a state evaluation every five years to prevent abnormal operations, such as only focusing on the main subjects for the annual college entrance exam.

Of the 11 schools assessed by the SMOE this year, four fell short of the minimum passing score of 60. They were Kyungmoon High School, Mirim Girls’ High School, Sehwa Girls’ High School and Janghoon High School.

The categories for the evaluation included long-term development plans for the school, the student admission process, the curriculum, competence of faculty members, school finances and facilities.

An evaluation committee consisting of university professors, education workers and parents had been working on the assessment from May 29 to last Monday based on data submitted by each school and site inspection.

Then SMOE will hold hearings for the schools on July 6-7, during which they may challenge the results. Each school will then get a chance to acquire a two-year extension after submitting a plan for improvement.

For schools that fail to earn an extension, the SMOE will request the Education Ministry to cancel their designation as autonomous private high schools, turning them into regular schools.

Last year, the SMOE decided to cancel the designation of six autonomous schools, but the ministry nullified the SMOE’s decision after wide-scale protests from parents.

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)
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