[EDITORIALS]Why no better answers?Emigration packages, basically the services of an agent to help people get visas, were offered by a cable home shopping channel and sold out almost immediately. Events for emigrants and students who wish to go abroad for study are crowded. At the bottom of these unusual phenomena lies the education problem Korean parents face here. They feel frustrated at the reality that their children do not have a chance to be admitted to a good university if they do not give them private tutoring. These parents are leaving the country in droves. The reason why the prices of apartments in the Gangnam area are skyrocketing is because many people compete to live there to take advantage of the large number of good private education institutes there. Gangnam is a privileged area; most competitive high schools formerly located north of the Han River relocated there, and many leading cram schools followed. It is because of the failure of public education that families leave the country and apartment prices in Gangnam are going crazy. With only a public school education, students get poor grades on their college admission test. They cannot expect to get an education that will allow them to develop their artistic and athletic talents. So students crowd cram schools and look for opportunities for an education overseas.
The present education system that relies on private tuition at the sacrifice of family life should be changed. Independent schools that parents support and that set their own curricula must be established. The tax money saved when more students attend independent schools can be spent to upgrade public schools. More basically, we must introduce competition in education and discard the standardized curriculum we now use.
As it plans a new town in Pangyo, the government wants to woo cram schools there to take the pressure off real estate prices in Gangnam. It is a pity that they have no better ideas. First, it is not likely that flourishing cram schools in Gangnam will move there, and if they do, Gangnam’s problems will be replicated in Pangyo. The government must find a fundamental solution, not just try to treat the symptoms.