[FOUNTAIN]Students flog ailing schools in ‘dictionary’

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[FOUNTAIN]Students flog ailing schools in ‘dictionary’

The Ministry of Education is a government agency in charge of the country's schools. It often confuses teachers and students by announcing inconsistent, absurd policies. Frequent replacement of the minister refreshes the office.
In light of recent revival of the standard examination at primary schools and the strange appointment of a former deputy prime minister for the economy as deputy prime minister for education, students have created a sarcastic dictionary reflecting the sorry state of Korean education. When nine out of 10 people leaving the country say they are pursuing better education for their children, the school dictionary pinpoints exactly why so many people are disappointed by the public education system. The cynical definitions can be found at myhome.naver.com/ssanzing2.
Created by a group of high school students, the preface proclaims, “This dictionary must be read with a sense of humor.” The entries are hilarious: Classrooms have collapsed, and the public education has been defeated by private lessons. But the kids still have their own voices.
It has a fabricated transcript adorned with fancy words to be shown to universities. The poor students are the guinea pigs, victims of frequently changing college entrance policies. “Yes” is the favorite word of the teachers. The demerit point is the only point easy to get at school. The entrance ceremony is the “prelude of disasters at the school for years to come.”
Korean parents say that they would vote for a candidate who has a clear solution to the problematic educational system. The inconsistent educational policy, which encourages parents to move abroad, is the No. 1 problem in the nation.
The dictionary poignantly condemns the Education Ministry for making it hard for students to faithfully follow the curriculum to get into top colleges by including hard questions in the College Scholastic Ability Test.
The authors of the dictionary felt that the rich kids have a better chance of going to good schools. The desperation and frustration of the poor kids reverberate through the closed school gate.
The fact that over 100,000 visitors viewed the dictionary’s Web site in three days reflects the ailing education system. If the school makes healthy kids sick, the school itself needs major surgery.


by Chung Jae-suk

The writer is a deputy culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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