Schools Prepare for Influx of Applications but Without Paperwork

In the upcoming school year, for the first time and without a pilot trial, applications for graduation courses can be submitted electronically. The Chamber of Deputies has reached a consensus on this new admission process model under the leadership of Cermat.

Starting in the new school year, it will be possible to electronically submit applications for graduation courses for the first time and without a pilot test. There is consensus on this new admission process model under the leadership of Cermat in the Chamber of Deputies.

Each applicant will be able to submit three applications instead of two, but after the entrance exams, they will no longer be able to choose. The system will assign them to a school based on the order they specify, from their first choice to the third. However, the stress caused by inadequate capacities in general courses in larger urban areas in the last two years will disappear.

In the following and next years, even larger year groups will rush to secondary schools, and each school can expect an even more significant number of applicants to process. However, thanks to digitization, school directors will be relieved of protracted administrative work. The Ministry of Education finalized the proposal last week, and after agreement with parliamentary parties, it will be presented to the Chamber of Deputies as a legislative initiative.

School representatives welcome this change. “I see positives for both schools and parents in the digital form. There might be some challenges, as we will do this for the first time without a pilot trial. However, there should be some preparation for it. I expect that it will require adjustments in the first year,” said Renata Schejbalová, the head of the Association of Gymnasium Directors.

The number of students is likely to increase compared to last year.

Jiří Zajíček, the chairman of the Union of School Associations, also views the change optimistically. “The change is welcomed, but it remains to be seen how it will be received in the Chamber of Deputies,” he told Právo. According to him, there will be three forms of submitting applications. The first will be written as before. The second will be entirely digitized, with parents using a certified electronic signature – a banking identity.

The third – hybrid – form will be the most common, according to Zajíček. “You fill everything out on your computer, print it, sign it, and send it. The application will immediately appear in the system,” he said.

According to Schejbalová, the proposal should consider that many schools need more time for entrance exams. The state tests organized by Cermat shouldn’t pose a problem. “For the state exams in Czech and mathematics, there will still be two attempts, but Cermat will distribute applicants among schools so that they won’t be overwhelmed or half-empty. The location won’t be determined based on the application’s priority,” she said.

Teachers will receive raises, and the budget for higher education and science won’t decrease in 2024, assured Bek.

However, some schools apply their criteria for admissions, whether it’s an interview or an English test. And it’s precisely because of this that schools should have more time for the admissions process. At the same time, the system will immediately display a list of schools with available spots after evaluation, as digitization will eliminate the system of lists and extensive appeal processes.

The human factor could be a problem.

“Each applicant will be assigned to a school based on the priority in their application, and this cannot be reversed. This will shorten the entire process. Until now, after entrance exams, we had to wait for the submission of the list, during which applicants could change their minds about where they wanted to go. Parents wrote appeals, and schools didn’t know if they had vacancies. It delayed subsequent rounds and so on,” described Zajíček.

The autumn term of graduation exams is approaching, with 6,800 students awaiting grading.

Because entrance exams will automatically determine placements, there might be difficulties in the Chamber of Deputies, Zajíček fears. “Today, when Jaruška finds out that Maruška was accepted into the second school, she will want to go there too. That’s a human factor that could turn out to be a problem. But if we want to allow applicants and their parents to go through this in a calmer manner than this year, we should let go of that,” he added.

Applicants won’t be deprived of the right to appeal in case of errors in tests or evaluations.