Private tutoring surgesThe amount each household spends on private tutoring for children reportedly hit a record high this year. The figure is up 33 percent since President Roh Moo-hyun took office. Higher income families spend six times more on private education than those with lower incomes, which shows a dangerous level of polarization within the nation.
The blame lies with the Roh administration and its failed education policy. The administration’s egalitarian education policy has ruined public schooling, and the administration has changed the university entrance system so often that students have to turn to private supplementary instruction.
One of the problems is that the administration modified the scholastic assessment test and the requirement for school records for university admission.
As a result, high school seniors have been caught in a deadly triangle; the scholastic assessment test, school records and essay tests. The scholastic assessment test is over, but students still take private lessons on writing essays.
Talented students from poor families are the biggest victims when public schooling collapses. They cannot get quality education at school, and they cannot afford private lessons.
President Roh has maintained a hostile position toward the rich, emphasizing that he works for the poor. Ignoring reality, he has adopted a populist education policy that has made the polarization crisis in education much worse. He said his education policy would stop poverty from being handed down from generation to generation, but it has only served to exacerbate the problem.
Reviving public schooling is the only way to reduce the amount spent on private instruction. If classes in schools were good enough to get students into university, students wouldn’t need private tutoring. The administration must consider why special or elite high schools have become so popular.
We have emphasized before that public education will recover only when we replace regulations and egalitarian policies with autonomy and competition. Such a move would offer students more variety in their education, and talented students would get a more suitable education. Many people worry that our public education is about to collapse, but President Roh does not listen.
The people now need to look into the presidential candidates’ education policies and choose the person most likely to save our education system from disintegrating.