Is Abolishing Autonomous High Schools Right?
Is Abolishing Autonomous High Schools Right?
  • Seo Hwak-young (CE 18)
  • 승인 2019.12.05 12:35
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On Nov. 14, 2019, the 2020 College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) took place. During my high school days, whenever the weather got colder, the CSAT was just around the corner and on all of our minds. Despite getting used to college life, the tension and solemnity of taking the test are still haunting. Back in the day, CSAT, a single examination was all there was to life. I was attending an autonomous private high school, so I did not pin high hopes on early admission where high school records were important. Instead, I intensely prepared for the regular admission. Luckily, I got accepted to POSTECH, and as a result, I am currently a sophomore in the chemical engineering department. Based on my three years of studying, past experiences and thoughts, I wish to discuss the abolition of autonomous private high schools which has currently been a hot topic of debate.
Recently, the government has implemented a policy on the abolition of autonomous and special-purpose high schools, and examples of actual conversions into general high schools can be easily found. According to the government, autonomous and special-purpose high schools are against Article 31 Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that all citizens have the right to be educated equally according to their abilities. They claim the supposed to be equal right to learn based on one’s ability are affected by their parents’ economic ability. In addition, they argue that ranking high schools, early education, and high private education costs needed to enter specialized high schools should be eliminated.
However, my thoughts on this matter are a bit different, especially on the abolition of autonomous high school. The thing that surprised me the most when I entered high school was that college entrance was a lot harder than what others, me included. I did not know the details until I entered, but only students with very high GPA were able to go to a university of their choice. Because of the early admission requiring a high GPA, more than 70 percent of the students were preparing for the regular admission at the same time. However, intense internal competition for a good GPA meant preparing for CSAT and achieving a successful result was difficult. In other words, it is never more advantageous in terms of college entrance compared to a regular high school. Many friends of mine had bad luck and had to take a gap year. Why is it that the government is trying to stop students who are trying to get the study environment they want at the risk of one’s difficulties?
I had a hard time in high school because I entered with little early education. I admit that excessive early education is not good, but I think the current situation in which the government implements policies without coming up with measures after the abolition is not right. Not only is the quality of public education not automatically elevated because of the abolition of autonomous and special-purpose high schools, but there is also no guarantee that another ranking of high schools will not emerge. In addition, there is also concern that education will be standardized downward not upward. Of course, it is possible that because I am an alumni of autonomous high school, I am arguing against the abolition. However, I believe that if the government really wants to standardize and normalize public education, the abolition of autonomous high schools is not the right way to go, and another alternative is necessary.