[LETTERS to the editor]One too many examsToday was the last day of term final exams at our school. It lasted four days, quite normal by Korean standards. But we must take another set of exams only two weeks later, according to the Education Ministry.
Korean students already endure extreme, possibly the world’s highest, amounts of stress from studying, mainly for school exams. Yet our government tries to have us take even more tests. They say parents want to know how the nation and their own children measure up, how they rank in educational proficiency against national standards, and the exams will help students study more (as if we don’t study enough already). The government says that proficiency reports and scores will soon be available online. There are many holes in its arguments.
Why another exam? If we are to take measures, they must truly benefit teachers, students and the taxpayers who pay for our education.
This proficiency exam seems like another example of Korea’s passive education program, which is based more on memorization than having students understand what they are learning, or to give them a chance to openly participate in the process of education. These exams are another pointless “memory quest.”
Instead of exams, public schools could have a day for students to have lively discussions about the things we learn at school. Perhaps we could have nature days, wherein students and teachers go hiking to appreciate nature or other classroom themes. Another option would be to have special classes on major issues like global warming or the economy, or students’ infringements of copyright law. In short, why take tests, when we can do better things to learn?
Kang Yeon Lee, Sunae Middle School, Bundang, Gyeonggi
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