[EDITORIALS]Open education marketThe possible opening of the education market is producing numerous loud arguments. The World Trade Organization wants the Korean government to present a proposal for opening the service market by the end of this month. Educational organizations that formed a coalition staged a large-scale rally over the weekend protesting the opening.
Under the world’s open and free market system, however, we cannot remain closed. Moreover, the opening is not only unavoidable but also necessary to increase the competitiveness of the Korean educational system.
With the Doha Development Agenda, as the current round of WTO negotiations is called, such countries as the United States, Australia and Japan are pressuring Korea to open its educational market, which includes colleges and adult education. Some countries are even urging Korea to open its primary and secondary education to foreign competition.
Educational organizations say that the entry of foreign institutions will destroy the public education system of Korea. They further argue that only the wealthy will be able to afford advanced and expensive foreign educations.
But how can Korea have international competitiveness if we let our children study under a second-class education system when we know that there is high-quality education also available?
The government appears to have decided that the opening of colleges and adult education is inevitable. The decision seems to be a realistic one. Branch schools of foreign universities are already allowed under Korean law. Adult education, if it is allowed to such degree where foreign institutions take part in companies’ vocational training, will not bring a great impact to the Korean educational system. When the market is open, we can save about 1 trillion won ($800 million) now spent by students abroad. An open market will also work as a stimulant for the Korean educational system. We need to use the opening to strengthen our competitiveness.