중앙데일리

Ministry tries to boost public English education

Dec 23,2009
The nation’s public school system is preparing to boost English education to try to tamp down private education fever.

The Education Ministry said yesterday it will raise the portion of listening test scores in the English section of the annual college scholastic aptitude test from the current 34 percent to 50 percent, starting with students entering college in 2014.

Third- and fourth-year students at elementary schools will receive two hours of English classes a week, up from one hour today, and middle and high schools will spend one hour or more a week on English conversation beginning next year. From 2011, fifth- and sixth-grade elementary school students will have one hour more of English per week.

The series of decisions was unveiled at the annual policy report for 2010 by the Education and Science Ministry and the Culture Ministry to President Lee Myung-bak yesterday. The Education Ministry said it will step up English education at schools because the subject accounts for the biggest portion of private education spending.

The ministry has set “reducing private education fees” as the primary agenda item for next year.

The ministry also reported it will launch a teacher evaluation system at elementary, middle and high schools nationwide in March and the results of academic achievements at respective schools will be disclosed to the public, spurring competition among schools to provide better education.

At the meeting, President Lee said he is “quite discontent with the Korean education system, although others think it’s extremely good.”

Unveiling his conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama during a Nov. 19 summit in Seoul, he said, “Obama abruptly asked me about strengths of Korean education during lunchtime but I was at a loss as to what to say because I couldn’t lie.

“I just said Korean parents are so passionate about education that however poor they are they kept it a rule to provide good education for their children,” he continued. “Korea could achieve progress as result.”

He then ordered education officials to expedite reform measures in the nation’s educational system, adding that the admissions officer system, being increasingly adopted by local universities, should quickly be made ubiquitous.


By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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