[EDITORIALS]Uneducated collegiansOne out of four applicants accepted to Seoul National University based only on College Scholastic Ability Test grades this year failed either the English-language ability test or the mathematic skills test that the university requires. Last year, 31 percent of the students failed to meet the English language standard and 14 percent failed the math skills test. The Chinese character examination conducted by the university was “a comedy” according to some who witnessed it. We need to reverse the steady decline in the ability of our students to meet the standards of our universities.
Most of the early applicants accepted by Seoul National University were the cream of the crop at their high schools and in the national college entry examination. If students at Seoul National University, one of our best, fail to pass a basic skills examination, what can we expect of students at other universities? Some universities reportedly even have special tutoring programs in which upper-class students with good grades help students who do not have the basic abilities to follow what is going on in class.
The biggest reason that bright high school students become poor students once they enter college is the standardized high school education system. Because the students were not educated to their individual potential, all have been schooled only to a minimum standard that is not equal to preparing them for college. Some high schools have contributed to the problem by making tests easy or even giving out the answers in order to inflate their students’ grades and enhance the school’s reputation for placing its graduates in good universities. The College Scholastic Ability Test also drives students to cram for the test instead of developing their mental skills, making them unfit for college.
It is said that only a quarter of all college graduates are ready to be hired as soon as they graduate. Companies have to spend enormous amounts of time and money to educate their new recruits.
We cannot let this decline in educational standards continue. Scrapping the standardized curriculum would be a good first step.