Help students help students

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Help students help students

As part of the Seoul government’s 2009 school support programs, about 10,000 college students in Seoul will help elementary, middle and high school students with their after-school studies starting next year.

The plan will provide supplementary lessons to students lagging behind in their classes and kids from low-income families who don’t usually have access to private educational services.

We hope this will add momentum to the trend of university students helping younger students out with their homework.

Positive effects of the program, in which university students volunteer to teach elementary, middle and high school students after school, have already been demonstrated by a program carried out by the Busan City Office of Education.

This year, 1,154 college students from six universities in Busan, including Pusan National University, have assisted 3,155 elementary, middle and high school students in their after-school studies two or three times a week. According to a Busan City Office of Education survey, most participating students have been satisfied with the program, and their academic performance has improved. As each volunteer teacher only has a small number of pupils, he or she can teach according to each student’s level. In addition to academic help, the student-teachers can also provide career counseling for their charges, and mentor them with regard to the everyday problems of life.

The most important aspect of the program is the active participation of the university students who provide the educational services. Universities should step forward to encourage more of their students to join the program.

As such, Korea University’s plan to give credits to students participating in the program is a great idea. Economic incentives are also a positive step, such as the 400,000 won reduction in tuition offered by Pusan National University.

The quality of the university students who participate in the program is also important. Only competent, motivated young adults can provide quality education. That’s why Pusan National University selected its candidates through an application process that included a written examination.

Areas of assistance also need to be diversified to include extracurricular activities and career counseling. In this way, the satisfaction of the students participating in the program will increase, giving the whole system more positive energy.
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