[LETTERS to the editor]Reform worries

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[LETTERS to the editor]Reform worries

This letter is in response to an editorial, “Level-based teaching” (Oct. 24, 2008). I can’t agree more that level-based teaching programs are a significant part of the education reform needed by local schools, but I’m worried about the direction of the education reform introducing level-based teaching.

First, the number of students in a class in public schools is over 35. Because hagwon [private institutes] have less than 15 students in a class, they can rule out a level-based system. But more teachers and classrooms are needed in order to start level-based classes in schools because students will be divided into small groups. This require money. Does the government really intend to support the schools?

Second, fair evaluations can’t be guaranteed under level-based teaching. In particular, this is because high school records are directly linked to admission into university. Whatever the level, the content of mid-term and final exams can’t be different. Although student abilities in higher levels are different from those in low levels, they are given the same exams.

Third, some schools are unwilling to have performance-based class systems, and it is doubtful whether the systems are really effective. Without teachers’ efforts to follow the system and a determination to teach well, the systems will not be effective.

For the success of level-based teaching programs, the government should have a consistent policy. Instead of blaming the problems on public schools, the government should push ahead with rapid and innovative reform.

The government should also provide more financial aid and change the methods of evaluating high school records to enter university.

Most of all, teachers should have positive attitudes regarding the government’s policy and follow the policy with a strong sense of responsibility.

Yim Back-kyu, English teacher, Donghwa High School, Namyangju-shi, Gyeonggi.

*e-mail to eopinion@joongang.co.kr or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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