[LETTERS to the editor]A matter of business
To put in my two cents: The discussion about leveling in schools is rather redundant. I assert that the problem stems from business. Schools do not really direct education, nor do parents, boards or even governments. Business is the engine that drives education. The reason all students attend university is to secure a good job.
Leveling education in middle schools and high schools is redundant because there is no level access to universities in Korea. Universities are viewed in a tiered system. The best students apparently go to Seoul National University. If they can’t get in there, then they go a tier lower, etc., until they finally get into one that supposedly meets their level (read tuition).
What is the point of leveling students in high school? I think it’s better to level the universities. Back to business: For some strange reason, graduates from top universities are hired at the better companies. Companies are a mirror reflection of Korea in general. Image is everything. Imagine a company needs an English speaking representative. They have three candidates. The first candidate speaks very little English but graduated from a top university. The second student graduated from a mid-level university with a TOEIC score of 900 but barely speaks. The third candidate graduated from a perceived low-level university, has an average TOEIC score but speaks near-native English. The company will inevitably hire the top university graduate first, the high TOEIC scorer second and the third candidate as a last resort.
Business dictates to universities what kind of graduates they want. Universities adjust their curricula to meet the demand. High schools adjust theirs to meet university standards. It is time for business to take a lead role in education and give clear direction to the education system as to what kind of people they need. The rest will fall into place.
David Woelke, university instructor, Busan
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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