[EDITORIALS]More education competitionPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s intention to announce a plan by the end of this year to reduce private education costs is a welcome act, considering that it indicates the government’s will to straighten out Korea’s desolate education situation. But the results remain to be seen.
Past administrations have come up with enthusiastic education policies but most of them have had lame endings. As a result, our nation’s expenditure ratio on private education is 6.8% of gross domestic product, placing it first among the 23 OECD nations, but in efficiency we have the dishonor of being 23d.
To offset the adverse effects of private education, the government has come up with after-school tutorial sessions, the introduction of licenses and a certification system for cram schools and standards for instructors at private educational institutions. These are just typical administratively convenient measures that only expand regulations. These actions will only increase the corruption among officials of the Ministry of Education and education-related municipal and regional government offices in these areas. Especially if the private education issue is treated as a way to get a grip on apartment prices in the Gangnam area of Seoul, the impact will be in doubt. The idea that boosting consumption by lessening the excessive private education burden, which will in turn boost the economy, is a far cry from a solution.
In order to solve the problem of private education, it is critical to start from where our nation’s education went wrong. Why is public education unable to carry out its proper role? As we have repeatedly stated, at the core of the problem lies the destruction of competition in education.
Standardizing areas where standardization is impossible only makes matters worse. Populist policies cannot be applied in education. If there is a problem in withdrawing the standardization policy at once, it is neccesssary to set up principles and go about solving the issue gradually. The way to introduce competitiveness has been repeatedly presented. If there are solutions, why stick to unreasonable ways?