[EDITORIALS]Reform education policyEducation is the main cause of a serious social problem we face now: skyrocketing apartment prices in Gangnam. The prices go up because parents prefer to live in Gangnam, where they can give better education chances to their children. In Gangnam, there are many high schools that place many graduates in competitive universities, and cram schools that help students get better Scholastic Ability Test scores.
Without providing a measure that can provide in other districts the educational premium that Gangnam residents enjoy, any stabilization measure will have only limited effect. It is worthwhile to listen to Chung Un-chan, the president of Seoul National University, who said that the real estate market would only be stabilized if entrance exams for high schools are revived and the educational standardization policy is withdrawn from middle schools. What he meant is that the stardization policy is the main cause of education problems and changing the policy is the shortcut to a good real estate poliicy.
The government has mentioned education as a secondary means for real estate market stabilization. That was putting the cart before the horse. The controversy over creating a cram school complex in Pangyo, a new satellite town planned south of Gangnam, broke out because the government tried to solve Gangnam’s real estate problem from an economic angle only.
When the standardization policy was expanded in 2003 to middle and high schools in Bundang and Ilsan, satellite cities around Seoul, parents there felt uneasy about their children’s chances to get into a good university and started to move to Gangnam in droves. That was the main reason for the sharp real estate price rise in Gangnam.
In short, after 30 years of standardized education, Korea’s competitiveness has regressed. Those policies should remain in public schools, but private schools should be allowed the independence to set their own curriculums. Introducing competition in standardized education is a reform urgently needed for education and real estate market stabilization.