[Letters] Abolish foreign language high schools

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[Letters] Abolish foreign language high schools

Regarding the Oct. 22 editorial, “Specialty schools under fire,” my opinion is that foreign language high schools should be abolished; simply revising the parts that have been criticized is not enough.

First, the elite education structure of these schools goes against equal opportunity education. Selecting only those students who excelled in all subjects after filtering those who fall behind will result in the formation of an educational hierarchy. It is not right to make a distinction between those who are talented and those who are not. In addition, students from underprivileged backgrounds can’t afford to enroll because these schools have become quite expensive. The survey shows that only 0.18 percent of all students are from families that have a minimum standard of living.

Second, these schools have been the major factor in skyrocketing private education costs. Entrance exams that go beyond students’ educational level have caused students to rely on private institutions to learn what is not taught in the schools. The quality of an academy is judged by how many students have gone up to foreign language high schools, which gives students and parents the false idea that they will gain admission to special schools if they go to the academy.

Third, elite foreign language schools have deviated from their initial purpose of teaching students to speak different languages. They have become cram schools that are short-cuts for students to advance into prestigious universities. They focus on the number of successful applicants to top universities rather than nurturing future leaders.

There is a Korean saying, “education is a long-term plan,” which emphasizes the importance of a well-designed education policy. The government must keep this in mind. Education is not for a small number of honor students who can afford to pay high tuition but for ordinary students who are faithful and keep progressing toward their dreams. Kim Jin-yean, Seoul


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