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[Editorial] Half of Middle and High School Students Not Keeping Up with Class

[Editorial] Half of Middle and High School Students Not Keeping Up with Class

Posted January. 11, 2005 22:13,   


The 2003 evaluation report on national scholastic achievement released by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development is shocking. The report shows that only half of the students in middle and high schools are of “moderate scholastic ability,” and able to learn from classes without too much difficulty. It is already a proven fact that the standardization policy of 30 years has failed at nurturing exceptionally bright minds. It is now clear that the policy is also not effective in increasing scholastic abilities on the whole.

The problem of students who fall behind in basic scholastic abilities is also grave. Five percent of elementary school students, 11 percent of middle school students, and 12 percent of high school students do not meet standards in basic abilities such as reading and math, and such numbers are growing every year. It is a tragedy for the nation as well as the individual that students are going out into society without basic attainments and abilities such as reading, writing and math.

It was irresponsible of the government to have neglected students with learning disabilities that amount to half of all students. It was also wrong of the education authorities to release only part of the findings in the recent evaluation. The drop in scholastic abilities is a grave matter that signifies a major pillar of the nation is silently crumbling, and all people should be able to access the evaluation results. The government must not stubbornly insist on exclusively holding on to the results.

Another serious problem is the fact that external environments such as living in a low-income or dysfunctional family play a significant role in bringing about learning disabilities. It is the nation’s fault that students not under the care of parents drop out earlier from the public education system. Schools and teachers must also think if they truly devoted all efforts for these children.

Cheong Wa Dae is selecting a new deputy prime minister and minister of education to succeed former Deputy Prime Minister Lee Ki-jun who stepped down from his post due to morality issues in just three days. Our education system has been proven to have grave problems in both nurturing gifted students and providing equal education. We are appointing our fourth education minister in less than two years since the current administration was launched, and the confusion that follows will deal a hard blow on education with negative effects. The government must fully note its responsibility of putting our education on the right path based on an accurate understanding of our reality today.