[EDITORIALS]A spat over education

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[EDITORIALS]A spat over education

It isn’t good to see the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education fighting over the ministry’s proposal to establish special-purpose high schools and independent private high schools in northern Seoul as part of measures to stabilize real estate markets. The education office has the right to criticize the Finance Ministry for intervening in education policy. But the education office head seems to oppose the ministry’s proposal too emotionally.
The government is promoting the expansion of the number of such schools in order to counter our education system’s woes. The system of providing a standard educational curriculum, which was introduced 30 years ago, has long been criticized for hampering the scholastic ability of middle- and high-school students, especially gifted students. Education has been equalized downward.
Of course, the system has some merits, including improvement of the records of average and lower-achieving students. But the system cannot provide an education tailored to the abilities of each student, so it is causing problems in developing our young people. Other developed countries are reforming their educational systems to allow for educational competition, believing that egalitarianism in education leads to a failure.
But the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education disagrees. He repeats the argument that the establishment of special-purpose schools and independent private schools will bring about only cutthroat competition to enter those schools.
That is dangerously shortsighted. It is more important to prevent the ability of students from degrading in order to improve the competitiveness of the nation and to disperse the demand of education concentrated on southern Seoul.
The fever for special-purpose schools already exists. So it is not reasonable to oppose the establishment of more such schools for fear of cutthroat competition. We urge the superintendent of the education office to take an open-minded attitude toward educational issues on which the nation’s future will depend.
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