[EDITORIALS]Mis-teaching the market

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[EDITORIALS]Mis-teaching the market

The average level of knowledge of market economics theories among economics teachers, when rated, amounts to 52 on a scale of 100 points. That means these teachers either do not know half of how a market economy works or they have incorrect knowledge of the system. Given such a lack of knowledge among teachers, it is self-evident just how little their students will understand market economics.
A report on the ongoing problems with economics education among Korean youths and solutions, issued during a symposium hosted by the Korean Economic Association, exposed all that is wrong with how we teach economics to our young students. Park Myung-ho, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, pointed out that 25.5 percent of economics teachers were first hired to teach subjects other than social science.
This means more than a quarter of teachers currently teaching economics have not even studied the very subject thoroughly themselves. In such circumstances it is unrealistic to expect our students to learn theories of market economics and to develop a practical knowledge of economics.
The aforementioned report is in line with the argument made last year by Konkuk University professor Kwon Nam-hoon that, “poor education on economics is responsible for our citizens’ mistaken ideas about market economics.”
Our teachers, some of whom have little understanding of a market economy, are using textbooks that contain distorted views that promote anti-market and anti-business sentiment. We are concerned about just what kind of values our students will have after this kind of education.
It is little wonder, then, that with such inadequate education, many still carry misguided ideas such as “the ultimate goal of any corporations is the pursuit of public interest, not profits,” and “the inherent nature of market economics creates corruption and widens the gap between the rich and poor.”
The problem here is that the ill effects of an ineffective economics education not only presents a barrier to an individual’s economic success, but also hinders the development of the national economy. In this age of global competition, having misguided ideas and a misunderstanding of market economics is akin to going out onto the battlefield with no artillery. The teaching of economics must be discussed in the sense that it gives our young students, who will carry this nation into the future, the minimal means to survive in society. It is time we comprehensively reformed the economics education system.
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