[Letter to the editor]Rethinking education
It seems the Lee Myung-bak government will take some actions to adopt a “meister” (or vocational) high school system. Such schools are pretty common in Europe. Our neighbors such as Japan and China consider them very important, thus their manufacturing sectors are very strong. Meisters or masters are experts professionally trained for many years in their fields. In Switzerland, only about 30 percent of high school students advance to college. Many of the rest choose to become meisters, and the first step starts in middle school. The important thing is that industries recognize their mastery of these skills, and many people think highly of the students who choose to go to master schools and consider them to be on a right path to success.
What I am concerned about is the prejudice most Koreans have regarding vocational high schools and not going to college. The success of a master high school system depends on how much the related businesses recognize the skills of master program graduates, not to mention the quality of the program itself.
To build the master education system right, the government needs to open a public discussion of the meister system. It needs to make sure the education system will produce high-quality craftsmen who can compete internationally.
Kim Jun-seong, career adviser,