Admission to secondary schools is in dire need of digitization, politicians agree


Before this year’s entrance exams to secondary schools, parents knew that the particularly strong year 2008, which twelve years ago could not fit into kindergartens, was striving for places in the benches. They examined the excess of individual schools in previous years and renowned gymnasium they often skipped outright. They tried, for example, a vocational school or a business academy, where it is more free.

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By doing so, they created a significant overpressure in these schools, and students did not even get here. They were pinning their hopes on an appeal, and their last chance was the second round of admissions. They became a stressful “fight”. On the website, they only found out which schools announced the second round. They often pretended to be standing in front of any of these schools and were clamoring for any information.

The situation became unbearable and there was talk of not only increasing the capacity of secondary schools, but also the digitization of the admissions process.

“It is clear that the setup of the admission procedure belongs to the last century and that it should take place electronically. This setting is unsustainable and needs to be changed as soon as possible,” he declared at his first press conference as Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek (TENT).

Outdated and complicated system?

Shadow Minister of Education Jana Berkovcová (ANO) sees it similarly. “The system, where students submit paper applications and parents go around schools with registration cards, is outdated and complicates life for both parents and children. It takes too long for the first and second rounds to settle. As students submit more applications, it also gives the impression of higher interest than it actually is. I am fully in favor of the digitization of the admission procedure, which will speed up and simplify everything,” she told Deník.

The introduction of the electronic admissions procedure as quickly as possible is also supported by the education committees of both chambers of the parliament. The deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee, Pavel Klíma (TOP 09), spoke in favor of maintaining the uniform entrance exams from Cermat. When asked whether digitization could be done in time for admissions in 2024, Klíma replied: “I think we should try.”

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Jaromíra Vítková (KDU-ČSL), vice-chairwoman of the education committee of the Senate, also considers the digitalization of admission forms a necessary step. “It will not only speed up the entire administratively demanding process, but also provide comfort for school principals and employees. This step would be part of the digitization of state administration, which the government is working hard on,” she said.

According to her, this is only a partial solution to the current problem. “The most important thing is to increase the capacity of secondary schools, for which their founders, i.e. the regions and the Prague municipality, are mainly responsible. The government should then try to help them as much as possible in this process,” she added.

The system would group applicants into preferred schools

What would such a digitized admission procedure actually look like? According to education analyst Tomáš Feřtek, for example, there would be a special portal where the applicant would have their own account and submitted an application here electronic. He would then monitor online how many places each school offers and what overhang is created there. Accordingly, he would choose five of them and rank them according to his preferences.

The system could then quickly evaluate who got where and how many free places are left for those who found themselves below the line. This would eliminate the current complex cycle of appeals, circulating schools with registration cards, returning them and transferring them elsewhere. The student would receive notification of the result in their login account.

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“The result of the electronic admissions process might look like this: ‘You were accepted to your third preferred school, you finished seventh from the bottom of the line at the second.’ The order would then automatically change according to any deregistered pupils from the given school to another preferred one,” said Jan Grulich (TOP 09), another vice-chairman of the Senate Education Committee. With enormous commitment, everything could be done for next year, according to him, however, it is uncertain.

Head of the Association of Directors gymnasium Renata Schejbalová stated that they have been striving for an electronic admissions procedure or the ranking of selected schools according to priorities for a long time. “The admission of pupils to several places and the subsequent selection would be eliminated. If the person in question got into the first chosen school, he would not block a place for others,” she explained.

Why does the admissions process take so long today?
Currently, the student has ten working days to hand in the enrollment slip to one of the schools he has been admitted to. Only then will the directors find out how many vacancies they have left. They will be supplemented by applicants below the line. They contact them in writing with the information that they have been accepted on appeal and are waiting for the next ten days to see if they receive a registration slip from them. When there are still some places left, they contact other students in order.

Principals usually speed up this lengthy process by calling parents and ascertaining interest. In the second round of the admission procedure, the number of applications is not limited, so one student can occupy fifteen places at fifteen schools. In addition, the enrollment slip can be taken back from the selected school and given to the one that notified the person concerned that it accepted him on appeal. This means that the number of vacancies and the lists of accepted ones are constantly changing.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Admission secondary schools dire digitization politicians agree


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