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[Editorial] Schools Should Take Bolder Approaches to “Ameliorate Scholastic Ability”

[Editorial] Schools Should Take Bolder Approaches to “Ameliorate Scholastic Ability”

Posted January. 31, 2005 23:14,   


Elected after pledging to “ameliorate scholastic ability” in the superintendent’s election last July, Superintendent Kong Jeong-taek of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education came up with a specific plan to implement the promise: restore synchronous examinations in elementary schools, which disappeared since 1997; increase the proportion of subjective exams in middle and high schools by more than 30 percent; and carry out scholastic evaluation exams regarding middle school freshmen. In other words, Superintendent Kong is intending to extend competitive systems within school and improve general scholarship through “difficult exams.”

Due to private education fever, Korea’s education policies have been deformedly focused on how to reduce the competition for college admission. Egalitarian color is becoming more stressed in the incumbent administration. The new college admission system, which will be applied for the first time to students who will advance to high school this year, is bringing a “renouncement of discrimination” on itself because it assigns the same score to the top and the 48,000th students of the College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Competition-void schools can only bring stagnation and inactivity. There is no way that teachers will have the enthusiasm to instruct in a school devoid of exams and evaluations. Although students with weak basic scholarship should be summoned to receive complementary lessons so that the number of dropouts can be reduced, the reality is that scholastic achievement evaluations cannot be made at will because they are afraid of the teachers association. Giving easy multiple-choice questions in each school is becoming a cause of the collapse in classes, sleeping at school, and study at private education institutes.

The scholastic achievement plan of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education should serve as a stimulus to stagnant public education. Some may worry about the expansion of private education, but it is more positive and realistic to find out and find ways through timely scholastic evaluations to help poor students who cannot afford private education.

Superintendent Kong should also implement his promise to enlarge the students’ right to select their schools and establish autonomous private high schools. The supreme end of education should not be competition, but it was also wrong to unilaterally push policies that have renounced competition. It is time to seek harmony between the two. More bold policy is required to revitalize our stagnant schools.