Education system in crisisOur education system is in dire straits. People have lost trust in the government’s education policy and in public schools. One of the primary aims of this policy has been to prevent poverty from being passed down from generation to generation. But this policy isn’t working.
What’s equally remarkable is that even though Korea is the world’s 12th largest economy, our universities lag way behind those of advanced countries.
The core reason for this is President Roh Moo-hyun’s view on education. He is obsessed with running an egalitarian system in high schools. He is even trying to push universities in the same direction. Professors are up in arms, while the general public feels that education would be in better shape if the Education Ministry shut down.
The next president must devote quality time to these crucial issues. Rather than enforce a philosophy based around regulations and egalitarianism, we need to promote autonomy and competition. In high schools and universities, talented students must be allowed to excel in accordance with the principles of competition.
The best way to revive regular high schools is to implement teacher evaluations, publicize information about education and offer more choices of schools to students. Then, teachers and schools will voluntarily compete and thus improve. In Japan, these measures were implemented several years ago. As a result, public schools there are improving.
In Korea, the government must not be afraid of teachers’ associations, such as the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union. Such groups represent the teachers’ best interests. Placing more faith in teachers will improve public schooling, too.
Regulations on universities must be lifted as well. In Korea, university entrance exams are one of the most important events in the country. This is not the case in advanced countries because their universities often have more autonomy to select students. In any case, more serious problems than entrance exams exist. What about training human resources, globalizing the education system, narrowing the gap in education between the rich and the poor and increasing the budget? The framework for the entire education policy must be changed to address these issues. Issues from the field can be dealt with in the field, while the government must consider the big picture and pursue strategic goals. Pursue these ideas and the Korean educational system will improve.