Support diversified schoolsAs government efforts to increase diversity in high school education become more tangible, general high schools are beginning to worry.
They fear they might be downgraded if their best students switch to one of the 100 independent private high schools that are set to be launched in the wake of the new foreign language high schools and science high schools.
“Do we only serve as a foil or a supporting role?” some people are saying.
However, misunderstandings and cynical defeatism will only hamper the direction in which Korea’s high school education development should be heading.
The diversification of high schools should serve as a stepping stone to upgrade the quality of public education. It should facilitate effective and fair competition among existing and new high schools.
To fulfill this aim, general high schools should be poised to improve their education services. A few schools have already begun to take action.
Yeouido Girl’s High School set up a project to foster professionalism among its teachers by supporting research activities.
Dongbaek High School in Yongin has initiated plans to better incorporate students’ needs. Jurye Girls High School will run a new program for providing customized education services. And Songtan High School in Gyeonggi Province is promoting special lecture systems designed to satisfy students’ individual expectations.
The government should seriously consider stronger measures to support general high schools. It plans to subsidize 114 leading high schools with 50 million won ($37,250) each to help develop education programs.
However, this is not enough money. The government should immediately implement measures to support 1,300 general high schools by providing a subsidy worth 244 billion won in total.
This is the sum the government saved when it designated 100 independent private high schools.
The government should also offer administrative support to facilitate sound and fair competition.
For example, high schools should be encouraged to be more independent and offer more individualized education services in accordance with their students’ needs.
Fostering win-win relationships between independent and general high schools is the only way to take public education to a higher plane.