[Letters] Shortchanging our students
I strongly disagree with the April 17 editorial, “Closing the education gap,” which insists that revealing test scores in the college admission test is the first solution to filling the education gap. It is a thoughtful piece, but it overlooks some important factors.
First of all, disclosing the test scores does not enhance the quality of public school education. Its basic idea is to raise the scores in the test by threatening schools and students with exposure of their private scores. The quality of education [must not be judged by] the students’ test scores. Education is intended to have a formative effect on students, in order to raise a whole person. If we put emphasis only on academic achievement, students will have mental, physical and emotional problems in the long run.
Secondly, the reason students in some high schools such as foreign language schools or science schools outscored those in ordinary schools is not because of the special schools’ autonomy, but because they put a priority in recruiting good students.
Diversifying the types of schools is needed to cater to the varied aptitudes of students, not to spark competition fever or to send all the students to universities. For example, some special vocational high schools’ main goal is not to score higher in the college entrance test, but to provide students with professional skills for various fields in the working world.
Finally and most importantly, the government abruptly broke the taboo of past administrations in not releasing test results to avoid spurring unnecessary competition among schools and increasing private education costs.
Parents and students often [end up suffering the consequences] of the government’s irresponsible and impromptu policies. They say education should be future-oriented; we should look ahead at least 100 years. We can’t solve every problem within a short period. Our incumbent government’s recklessly changeable policy should be restrained.
Disclosing the education gap between the schools and regions will worsen the state of public education, and the deep-rooted supremacy of academic cliques in Korean society will not disappear. Above all, for real education, human-centered education should take precedence over academic exertion, and cooperation should be emphasized more than competition. Education differs from marketing which boosts competition immensely. The biggest product of education can’t be easily measured by a show of numbers and profits in a short time.
Rhonda [no last name given], Seoul,