[EDITORIALS]The education perilsThe problems besetting Korean education, which places too much weight on the university entrance examination, has become a matter of international concern. The UN Children's Rights Council recently reviewed the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty among its member countries, deciding that the rights of Korea's children are violated by preparation for the university entrance examination and the early education boom among parents, which place enormous stress on the nation's children. The conclusion, which was prepared after reviewing reports of 13 private organs, such as the Korean Parents' Association for Good Education, is quite unusual compared with demands on other countries to help their children by easing poverty, eradicating disease and stemming violence.
It is undeniable that Korean parents' zeal to educate their children helped propel the nation to the ranks of the 10 top trading countries. But, if an international organization finds it necessary to express worries, it is time for us to review our education system.
The early education zeal is a serious problem. The effectiveness of early education is controversial and its demerits loom large. Even when elementary schools are on winter vacation, children spend as much as six hours a day at cram schools, attending English, math, science, philosophy and physical education classes. There are even third grade students in cram schools for admission to special high schools in science and foreign languages. Reports indicate that early English education for children not yet of school age is not effective. Education experts warn that the burdens of intense study create stress and other negative effects in children.
The government should foster education reform by improving the public education system and businesses should revise employment policies that are based on education. Parents should understand that too much educational zeal brings suffering to their children. They should contemplate education methods that will help their children.