&#91EDITORIALS&#93Education panel must learn

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[EDITORIALS]Education panel must learn

The Education Reform Committee was launched yesterday. Even though every new administration has set up a presidential educational advisory body, they have talked more about reform than acted on it.
What were the contributions to education of the Education Reform Review Committee during the 1980s and the Education Reform Committee of the Kim Young-sam administration and the Education Human Resources Policy Committee under the Kim Dae-jung administration?
The numbers speaks for themselves: In the first half of this year, Koreans spent a total of $821 million to study abroad, up 29 percent compared with the same period last year and a record high, according to the Bank of Korea.
Stagnant public education suffering from “standardization,” exorbitant charges for private instruction, colleges that cannot produce workers that companies want to hire ― these are the maladies that compel thousands of Koreans to seek educational opportunities in other countries.
The president of the new committee said that he will focus on reviving the impoverished education in the provinces. Of course, there are many problems involving education outside the big cities, but is that the most urgent issue involving education?
The biggest problem with Korean education is that students are not in an environment that encourages them to live up to their potential, and for many the education they receive does not meet their academic level.
It has been more than two decades since the government started assigning students to a middle or high school regardless of their level of scholastic ability in order to create similar classroom profiles across school districts. As a result, gifted students and average students are studying in the same classroom. Students and parents are robbed of the right to choose a school.
The committee is new in composition, including teachers in schools located in provinces. We sincerely hope that the new committee members find ways to revive our education system. They must start by ending the standardization of education.

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