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[Editorial] How Can We Retrieve Essential Educational Goals?

[Editorial] How Can We Retrieve Essential Educational Goals?

Posted November. 24, 2004 23:04,   


Regarding elaborate illegal acts on the national college entrance exam, Education Minister Ahn Byung-young assured, “We will take measures in light of retrieving educational intent.” His intention is understandable. However, I cannot help but wonder how. When Mr. Ahn said, “This case is involved with intrinsic problems in the educational system rather than ones in information technology, which made us realize that we have not provided thorough character education for students,” his remark was acceptable. Now, we need to raise the fundamental question of who is responsible for not offering such education and why things have gone this far.

What caused this educational disaster varies, ranging from people’s aspirations to enter prestigious colleges to their own moral hazards. However, the final reason for this incident ends up on our college entrance system. If our college system continues to rely on uniform entrance examinations under government control, and the government keeps dwelling on the idea of equalizing high school education, it will be impossible to regain essential educational goals.

A reasonable and fundamental solution to the problem can be giving back rights to elect students to private universities. Each college should be able to select students and educate them according to its principles. Educational consumers should be provided with the right to choose schools in order to force private middle and high schools to educate their students for the honor of the school. To that end, the government has to allow the foundation of autonomous private high schools and special purpose high schools to meet the need of local situations and the demands of local people, not to mention the need for significantly improving the educational environment and the quality of teachers in national and public schools.

The government has to come to realize that it is the educational authorities, who are negligent and evasive in taking responsibility, that destroy the essential goal of education while they monopolize all education-related work and decide the future of the country. While the world is craving ways to promote educational competitiveness, Korea is emphasizing the importance of tutoring programs on EBS and ignoring the need for better public education.

I hope that government’s measures in response to this incident will not include character education based on scores. It is important to thoroughly investigate into illegalities and severely punish the public officials who are responsible in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.