The father of Professor Huh June who won a Fields Medal, which is equivalent to the Nobel prizes in Math, for the first time as Korean, Huh Myeong-hoe who is professor emeritus of Statistics in Korea University in Korea recalled his memory of Professor June Huh quite frustrating when he was young.
Professor Huh Myeong-hoe explained that he felt frustrated at his son who did not meet the parent’s expectations but emphasized on creativity and autonomy. Such freedom has become a big strength of Professor June Huh.
Professor Huh Myeong-hoe stated that when his son played with toys he would change the existing frame creatively and that he tried to encourage such elements. Multiple versions of Yut-nori (Korean traditional game) was made and a variety of mushrooms were collected and classified as a project.
During junior high days Huh June wrote poems and novels. As this is a professional area of his mother, they would read together and complement or criticize. She is Professor emeritus of Russian language and literature at Seoul National University.
Professor Huh Myeong-hoe introduced an episode of when his son was in junior high. The father became ambitious trying to push the son with the standards of Math Olympiad. The son seemed defiant. Maybe because it was difficult for him.
“When reading my son’s articles these days, it seems like he was under a lot of pressure to please the parents,” said the father.
Professor Huh Myeong-hoe advised that in teaching children, their wills and intention must be respected and also added some advice over the Korean educational system. The Korean education system must improve so as not to be dominated by only the winners and overly uniform but must change to highlight flexibility and collaboration.
The father added that learning ahead is not right and that he was against private education. He commented that the environment must be formed for the children and autonomy should be guaranteed.
Regarding the Korean education system, Professor Huh Myeong-hoe pointed out that the education paradigm highlights only one winner and make the rest losers – in other worlds aiming for the competitive winner - has problems. He also added that he is against the idea of dividing liberal arts and natural science because they complement one another.