[EDITORIALS]Address education problemsThe much-hailed Seoul Gangnam area is not a privileged place for education. It is merely like a huge industrial complex in which students are treated as robots whose only existence is to study. This is a place where parents do not care much about schools but try to get their children into prestigious colleges by sending them to countless institutions other than the regular schools. It is also a place where private tutors, claiming to know all and teach the answers for the universal college entrance exam, are at the forefront of the “memorizing the right answers” phenomenon.
The special article by the JoongAng Ilbo about Daechidong’s overheated private tutoring atmosphere, which has been identified as one of the culprits in the skyrocketing housing prices there, goes to the heart of the problem. What is the result of subjecting these Daechidong children to this unhealthy memorization-only atmosphere? Their average score on the college entrance exam is no higher than in other districts, the ratio of high school students going to college is no higher than in other places, and the students do not have a higher ratio of placement in the top colleges.
Their grade point average is no higher than other students’ and they do not seem to have a better chance of landing prestigious jobs than others do. It is because they lack creativity and they have not spent much time acquiring knowledge through reading books.
It is just sad that, despite all this, the Daechidong area is still viewed by parents and students as a must and is still admired.
It is time to put an end to the vicious cycle where public education is in the background and teachers at these schools do not receive much attention while instructors at cram schools are in the spotlight. The government needs to do more than just address the educational problem as a means of getting a hold on housing prices. It needs to seriously think about our future, when these children who cannot think on their own will have to carry our country. Only when it does so can it devise a true solution to our problems in the education sector.