The stress for ninth-graders and parents may soon come to an end. The Czech Republic’s coalition has agreed to allow the electronic submission of three applications for high school admissions from 2024. The schools will be ordered according to the applicant’s priority, who will know within a month of the test which school they have been accepted to.
They will automatically be placed in a school with a higher priority on the application. The process will be real-time, and capacity and available spaces will be known. This will eliminate the appeal process that prolonged the procedure and kept thousands of children and parents in suspense.
Renáta Zajíčková, an expert on education from the ODS, confirmed that they are ready to proceed with the new system and that the essential elements have been adequately prepared, including how it will be incorporated into the law. The parliament must approve the law in tight deadlines, and Cermat must prepare new rules.
According to Zajíčková, giving students the option to choose more schools to apply to now will not be possible since it would cause an excessive load. Especially for schools that, in addition to the Cermat state entrance exams, also consider their criteria for admission, such as professional exams, resumes with work portfolios, and interviews. Approximately one-third of schools fall under this category.
Miroslav Hřebecký, the program director of EDUin, an organization for information in education, agrees with Zajíčková. He believes it is commendable when schools operate their entrance exams as two tests in Czech and mathematics filled out like a sports lottery do not reveal much about the applicants. The directors of these schools say that increasing applications to three would mean half of the applicants, which they could handle. An increase to four would be too much.
In addition to electronic applications, a paper application will also be possible, which complicates the system. A platform will also be created as a service to parents and students. Thanks to this, everyone will know where the available spaces are and which school they have been accepted to at the time of the results.
The whole process will take about a month, from writing the state exams to announcing the results and stating which school the applicant has been accepted to. It takes two weeks, but the appeal process prolongs it by additional weeks. The schools are also burdened with issuing second and further rounds of entrance exams.
Hřebecký believes this is a tremendous improvement, as it eliminates the need to run around with parchment as in medieval times and fill out forms with a goose feather that you must carry to the secretary. He criticizes that parents in previous years had to negotiate admission to three schools after an unsuccessful first round. However, the schools with available spaces were not known because even their directors did not know how many registration forms they had. This whole process continued until the end of August with significant confusion.
For example, there was an extreme overload of gymnasiums and some secondary vocational schools in Prague and the Central Bohemian Region. At the end of June, 81 places were available for gymnasiums and lyceums in Central Bohemia.