Public school preference sought for university access

Public school grads do not measure up academically as well as those who attend private schools, so a lawmaker wants to level the university admissions.

The lawmaker,  Epsy Campbell, said Wednesday that the Universidad de Costa Rica reported that from 2007 to 2010  29 percent of private high school students were admitted.

During the same period only 14 percent of the public school students were admitted.

She is proposing legislation that 50 percent of the space in the most sought-after career tracks at public higher education institutions be reserved for public school students. She called this democratizing university access.

The public school grads would be selected based partly on their grades, she said in a release. But half the spaces assigned for public

high school students would be reserved for applicants in rural and low-income urban areas, she explained. She also said that the legislation would require places to be reserved for Afro-Costa Rican and native students in proportion to their percentage in the general population.

She reported that a household survey shows that 59 percent of the student population in state universities come from the higher class while just 32 percent are categorized as middle class. Those listed in the lower class make up just 8 percent of the student body, she said.

She said it was not logical that the classes most in need have less chance to enter quality public education.

She also proposes a program to provide the tool needed by public school applicants to guarantee them adequate preparation to pass admissions tests and meet the challenges of the public university curriculums.

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