[EDITORIALS]Don’t blame cram schoolsThe Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has announced a war on cram schools in the Gangnam area. The crackdown can be considered legitimate since there are precedents for regulating tuition and late-night classes. Additionally, the education office has reasons for initiating the crackdown because of various reports of abuse and exploitation of private education institutes.
However, it is hard to understand why the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, who has neglected to address these problems until recently, suddenly had a change of heart.
There’s nothing new about cram schools ripping off students with inflated tuition and holding late-night lectures. But why is the office of education focusing only on cram schools in the Gangnam and Seocho district? Could it be another campaign against Gangnam, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Seoul? Or does this mean schools in other areas follow all the regulations?
What should students preparing for essays, oral tests and interviews at cram schools in Gangnam do if their school is forced to close? Why doesn’t the education office understand that parents would have no other choice but to pay for expensive private classes if these cram schools are shut down?
If the superintendent of the Seoul education office was so concerned with abuses committed by the cram schools, he should have strengthened public education during his seven years in the office so students wouldn’t have to go to private institutes. It’s obvious that students go to these cram schools to make up for the deficiencies in public education. The superintendent was also strongly opposed to the establishment of independent private schools as well as special schools in language or science.
The war on cram schools may have an effect for now, but where there’s demand, there will be a supply. Cram schools flourish only because parents and students are dissatisfied with public education. It is more important to implement a new competitive education system rather than trying to crack down on cram schools.