[EDITORIALS]More school policy changesWhy does the government believe that allowing supplemental classes at high schools will improve public education? Another change in policy will add to inconsistency in education policy and may intensify the heated competition for college admissions.
Supplemental classes held after regular school periods were phased out between 1999 and 2001 to rationalize high school education and foster creativity and diversity among students.
Policymakers then let education slide by encouraging the idea that being good at just one subject should be enough to prepare students for college. Those developments provided the background for the most recent idea to resume supplemental classes.
The reality now is that there are ways to keep students at school early and late in the day by using "study periods," "training for specialties," or "broadcast classes." The level of stress on students from all the extra time spent at school is apparent in the cries to ban "zero period," held early in the morning before regular classes begin. That often leaves students so tired that classes become nap time.
The Ministry of Education said supplemental classes should not be mandatory and could start only after consultations among teachers, students and their parents and review by schools. The classes cannot be an extension of regular classes, it said. But since the present rules on extra classes are already being ignored, how can we expect compliance with the new edict?
Resuming supplementary classes will almost certainly intensify parents' hysteria over how they are run and their use as cram courses for the college entrance exam. And cram courses at schools will never be as good as such courses at private institutions. All students will get is more time sitting in their classroom.
It is doubtful that this revocation of the ban on supplemental classes will improve public education. A better solution to the problems in our public education system is to end the standardization policy of high school education and allow schools to compete freely with each other.