[LETTERS to the editor]School policy has opposite effectThe government seems determined to limit admission to schools like mine to students residing where the schools are located. The nominee for education minister, Kim Byung-joon, says he will see that this becomes law. This policy is bound to fail.
As stated by previous education ministers this is due to the need to ease the fierce competition for admission to prestigious universities. But the education policy instead aims to drive down educational standards and destroy the “prestigious schools,” by imposing one mandatory curriculum for the whole nation. This policy is widely considered the worst of its kind. Before this policy, students who wanted a higher education could go to prestigious high schools and those who did not, simply went elsewhere. Kyunggi High School was once well known for supplying the bulk of the student body of Seoul National University. Thus, the pool of student applicants was smaller and the competition to get into college was less fierce. After the prestigious schools were killed, however, the field of competition opened to all of Korea. Even those who did not want to go to college were pushed to try, because their chances had supposedly improved. Because of this, Korea has holders of bachelor’s and master’s degrees driving taxi cabs.
With demand for higher education almost universal and competition fiercer than ever, limiting private schools’ ability to select their own students would result in the demise of such schools, destroy the selective pool of future university students and open up unlimited competition. In short, this policy would achieve the direct opposite of its goal; it will lead to increased, not decreased, competition.
Only a tenth of the world’s population is able to attend college, yet Korea wants to see every Korean go to college. If everyone tries to go to college, no one will be able to enter.
by Yunsieg Kim