[Viewpoint] Evolution brought us elite schools

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[Viewpoint] Evolution brought us elite schools

Foreign language high schools are extraordinary institutions. Their graduates have a better chance of getting into good universities than students at other high schools.

These elite schools are looked upon as a superior guild in the secondary school environment.

Their birth in 1984 had been humble. They could not register as high schools and therefore belonged to the same category as other training academies.

Few would have thought that two decades later, these schools would be sitting at the pinnacle of the school food chain.

Their versatility and evolution in response to change contributed to their success.

Now we could either let these institutions grow or make other schools emulate their merits. That is the way evolution works.

Natural selection determines whether variants should become common in a population or disappear. Variants with advantageous traits soon replace weaker ones.

Through generations of such adaptations, they become better adjusted to their environment.

Under the natural order, there is no reason to alter the foreign language school’s current state.

The schools have evolved over the last two decades to attain their current competitive form.

Sure, some might say they have undesirable traits, but we must accept them because they are necessary adaptations to the environment.

If change is necessary, then the conditions in the social environment that bred negative traits must change.

The problem is that we are suspicious of anything that goes beyond the run-of-the-mill.

The mind has evolved since humans were primitive. Once, it was enough if there was just enough food to go around. Equal scarcity brought about stability.

Then civilization began to develop and advance. Rifts appeared between those with more wealth and those with less.

Such evolution was natural, but the human mind is not always generous and understanding.

The successful and wealthy generally have had their status simultaneously coveted and resented.

Such a trend is more conspicuous in a market that encourages competition and evolution.

The conglomerates, or jaebeol, are at the top of the corporate food chain. They are therefore hated most. Yet they are not easily reproached. To do so, one must argue against success.

In June 1961, Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull was charged with acquiring illegal wealth. He spoke his mind before Park Chung Hee, who came to power through a military coup. He complained about the unreasonableness of accusing the top 11 businesses of amassing illicit fortunes when no company was able to survive by meeting the excruciating tax demands of those days.

Park saw Lee’s point and the two shook hands. That move eventually helped “the miracle on the Han River.” If Park had chosen to oppress the jaebeol rather than joining hands, our economy may not have grown at such extraordinary speed.

Global companies like Samsung and LG also may not have existed.

If we try to overturn the outcome because we aren’t happy with the way of evolution, we would be punishing success. We must use reason to control our natural resentment of success.

Over the years, society has encouraged hostility against the privileged community.

In 1758, French economist Vincent de Gournay cried out, “Laissez faire et laissez passer,” or let do and let pass, as a means to a revived market free from repressive interference from authorities.

Liberty is the spirit of evolution.

I would like to see our education system evolve through the spirit of freedom.

If reincarnated, de Gournay might declare, “Laissez evoluer” - allow evolution.

*The writer is a novelist.Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.

by Bok Koh-ill

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