- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023
Czech Coalition Approves Electronic High School Admissions Applications to Ease Stress for Ninth-Graders and Parents
In a move to alleviate stress for ninth-graders and their parents, the Czech Republic’s coalition government has agreed to implement electronic submission of high school admissions applications starting in 2024. Under the new system, students will be able to electronically submit three applications, prioritizing their preferred schools. Within a month of the entrance exam, applicants will receive notification of acceptance to the highest priority school for which they qualify.
The new process will be real-time, providing immediate visibility into capacity and available spaces at each school. This eliminates the need for an appeal process, which previously prolonged the admissions procedure and left thousands of families in suspense.
Renáta Zajíčková, an education expert from the ODS, has confirmed the readiness of the system’s essential elements, including the necessary legal framework. The law governing the electronic admissions process must be approved by the parliament within tight deadlines, while Cermat, the national institute responsible for testing and assessment, will prepare new regulations.
Zajíčková explained that expanding the number of schools to which students can apply is currently not feasible due to the potential excessive workload. This is especially relevant for schools that consider additional criteria, such as professional exams, work portfolios, and interviews, in addition to the state entrance exams administered by Cermat. Approximately one-third of schools fall into this category.
Miroslav Hřebecký, program director of EDUin, an education information organization, agrees with Zajíčková, highlighting the merits of schools that employ their own entrance exams. He commended the practice, noting that a simple lottery-style test in Czech and mathematics does not provide sufficient insight into applicants. School directors have expressed that handling double the number of applicants, which would be the case if three applications were allowed, is manageable. However, an increase to four applications would be overwhelming.
In addition to electronic submissions, paper applications will still be accepted, adding some complexity to the process. A platform will also be developed as a service for parents and students, providing information on available spaces and admission outcomes.
With the new system, the entire admissions process, from writing the state exams to receiving acceptance results, will take approximately one month. Previously, the process extended due to appeals, burdening schools with subsequent rounds of entrance exams. The streamlined process will eliminate the need for parents to navigate negotiations with multiple schools after an unsuccessful initial round, bringing an end to the confusion and delays experienced in previous years.
The move towards electronic applications represents a significant improvement, replacing archaic paper-based systems reminiscent of medieval times. Miroslav Hřebecký emphasized the elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy and confusion, which previously persisted until the end of August, and praised the increased transparency and efficiency of the new admissions process.
Article by Prague Forum
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- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023