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[Editorial] Muhak High School In Gyeongsan Gives Hope for Public Education

[Editorial] Muhak High School In Gyeongsan Gives Hope for Public Education

Posted April. 06, 2005 23:32,   


It is impressive to hear that Muhak High School in Hayang-eup, Gyeongsan City, North Gyeongsang Province, which is an hour drive from Daegu, had all of its 280 graduates enter four-year universities. There is no academic institute there, which, by contrast, abounds in city areas, and the students had just average grades from middle school. Nevertheless, it is said that as many as 20 of them entered several prestigious universities.

When the average college entrance rate is 80 percent, the school’s 100 percent entrance rate is eye-popping, but don’t miss out on the essentials of Muhak’s “miracle.” Its principal, Kwon Oh-sun, even asked, “What’s such a big deal about the college entrance rate?” It is both natural and touching for him to add: “What counts is students found studying important and interesting, and the bonus they got was the acceptance from the university they wanted.”

The secret behind such enthusiastic students was teachers’ passion, which is something the education circle feels embarrassed and serious about. Teachers of Muhak motivated students to study, telling them, “Only if you are properly educated, can you do whatever you want for your career.” They, moreover, were committed to teaching students according to their performance, and to giving extra make-up classes, which were open to students as options. Overall, although they were not paid more for all these extra efforts, they were passionate in providing this kind of “tailored education.”

That is why education in Muhak gives hope. The never-ending problems of “flawed public education” the education authorities could not resolve for decades came to be solved by a school in the countryside. It clearly showed how “overly enthusiastic” teachers were able to change both the students and school.

Today, both students, as demanders of education, and their parents are sick and tired of the public education system in Korea. For a long time, the quality of school education, never exposed to any strict evaluation, has been lagging behind private education, and school playgrounds have been a hotbed of violence. Moreover, some school cafeterias are dirty enough to cause possible food poisoning.

However we can’t give up on public education. The top attraction for foreign investment in Korea is our human resources. Only our schools can develop talented human resources. Now is the time for teachers to change their attitude. There can be no change with teachers who are only concerned about decent wages in the name of preserving the dignity of schools. There should be more than mere regret and soul-searching on the part of some high-level education officials. Only when teachers do soul-searching and try to reform, can quality public education be re-established.