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Parents University

Posted February. 28, 2008 03:15,   


Yonghwa Girls` High School in Seoul held its first “Parents Night” last year. Breaking its custom, the school rescheduled the event to the evening hours. The turnout was large compared to that of previous years. This was because a number of working parents, who can’t participate during school hours, attended the program. This provided dual income parents the opportunity to actively participate. By making a small change to an established idea, the school was able to create a new way to communicate with parents.

Yonsei University announced it would open a “Parents University” this year. The school said the program is designed to give parents, interested in their children’s school life and career choice, lectures with useful information. The university has quite a few parent associations to exchange information, including ones for students preparing for study abroad, an exchange program, or the national bar examination. Nowadays in Korea, education fever among parents seems to go beyond high school.

Close cooperation and firm dedication among teachers, students, and parents are believed to be keys to success. But needless to say, the role of parents is much more important. Koreans used to consider education a time when the "bird fights its way out of the egg" and the job of parents was just to support them if their kids failed to make it out on their own. However, developmental psychologists say that’s not exactly true. They studied how children grow and change over the course of their lifetime by analyzing three types of children: those who obeyed their parents, those who tended to disobey their parents, and those who chose their own way. The study found people who were obedient to their parents lead the most stable and happiest lives.

Parents are confused since they aren’t sure whether they should be involved in their children’s academic careers or just leave it up to their children. They don’t have the right answers because they can’t tell what the future holds. In this fast-paced era, advising one’s children to pursue stable careers such as medicine, law, or civil service doesn’t always seem right. In this regard, “Parents University” seems to be a product of our time and a place where parents can reach a mutual understanding with their children regarding their career and future.

Editorial Writer Hong Chan-sik, chansik@donga.com