[EDITORIALS]Students’ sacrifice too great

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[EDITORIALS]Students’ sacrifice too great

Consecutive, unfortunate incidents involving young students have taken place.
The leader of a student association at a prestigious science high school committed suicide on Sunday by jumping from a window. Known only by his family name, Lee, the student left a note to his mother on the back of a test paper saying, “Mom, live with peace of mind.”
Another leading high school student from Gongju survived a blaze set by his father that killed his father, sister and mother. The father who set the fire is said to have told to his son, “You were one half of my life, but you ruined everything.”
These are clues that the parents of the students suffered from extreme stress as a result of their children’s poor academic performance. The two tragic incidents show parents’ excessive expectations.
One was a student at a renowned science high school with the most talented science students nationwide. The other student attended the famous high school in Gongju that attracts young talents from all over the country.
They were both honor students, first in their classes throughout their middle school days. They entered the prestigious high schools through fierce competition and earned the envy of people around them.
But they succumbed to psychological pressure before they could establish themselves as adults. It is regrettable, not only for themselves and their families, but also for our society, that such tragedies occurred.
We think the misfortunes of the two students derive from the contradictions inherent in our society. Behind the social trend that emphasizes school records is a social climate where graduates of prestigious universities are honored. For students from ordinary families, entering a prestigious university guarantees a stable life and an opportunity for upward mobility. The old tradition of putting family ahead of individuals makes parents consider the lives of their children the same as their own.
Entering prestigious universities has become the ultimate goal of students. But the current university entrance system doesn’t recognize the gap in scholastic ability among different high schools, thus talented students at prestigious high schools are at a disadvantage when they apply for universities. Such an unreasonable university entrance system must change.
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