[EDITORIALS]Muddled education policyIn a letter to education policymakers, Ahn Byung-young, the deputy prime minister of education, vowed that he would continue to block any high school ranking system.
On the one hand, he has made clear that a survey of universities suspected of using a high school ranking system was merely a fact-finding effort. Mr. Ahn claims that under the rubric of standardized education, to recognize rankings of high schools when students do not have choice in their schools, is a contradiction. But on the other hand, Mr. Ahn stresses that demanding universities to present materials on student evaluations or the screening process in the survey must be done carefully so as not to harm the colleges’ independence.
We are perplexed by the assertions made by Mr. Ahn. In his letter, Mr. Ahn says it is impossible to allow high school rankings, which would destroy the standardization of education, but also says he cannot implement inspections that would infringe upon the student selection process of the universities. But as the leader of national education policy, he must prioritize what is most desirable for our education system. If he persists in an ambiguous policy of not promoting either standardization or competitiveness in schools, it will only increase public distrust and cause more confusion.
Standardization of high school education is a failed policy that did not overcome the fervor for private education or the differences in scholastic ability between Korea’s regions. Applying the results of standardization is to give up the training of talent. In the past, universities adopted the standardization policy and selected students based on the College Scholastic Aptitude Test, student records, an essay test and interviews. How colleges use their screening data should be at their discretion and the government, teachers’ unions and parents groups should not interfere.
The Korea teachers’ union must know very well why the universities do not give much credence to students’ school records. It is because the high schools give answers on the mid-term and final examinations to the students in order to inflate their grades. The union has no right to oppose the ranking of high schools. Mr. Ahn must not show a split attitude towards rankings. The government must complement and modify the procedures in the standardization of education and guarantee the rights of universities in selecting their students.