Preposterous education ideasThe government is coming up with more and more preposterous ideas to reshape foreign language high schools to lessen concerns about overheated competition and spending to enter those elite schools.
Not long ago, the government announced that it would sharply reduce classroom size at foreign language high schools and more recently proposed restricting entry for students who received paid tutorial assistance.
From next school year, applicants will be required to provide background details on their private lessons among their admissions documents. If they are found to have watered down or falsified information on their tutorial profile, students will be disqualified or disadvantaged in their cumulative assessment.
It is a ridiculous idea the Education Ministry improvised amid concerns that greater weight on the admissions process in determining entry may fuel spending on private education to customize student qualifications to better meet school requirements.
The ministry’s ideas are both unrealistic and go against basic principles or education. Most students aspiring to apply to foreign language schools study extra at private academies or with tutors to outperform their peers.
No matter how authorities try to alter the entry process, there is no denying that elite students cannot be created currently through public education alone. The ministry assures us that admissions officers will be able to tell whether students are lying about their private lesson backgrounds in interviews.
Cynics joke that parents will now have to seek out tutors to help students better deceive admission officers. What kind of education policy prohibits students from studying additionally and encourages lying about it?
The ministry is naive and short-sighted in believing it can rein in private spending on education by denying students the assistance of private academies.
It should try building an environment that demands less need for private lessons to address the problem instead of resorting to restrictions and threats. Reinforcing the role of school education to replace private lesson demand can take time, but impromptu measures to precipitate immediate effect can only worsen matters and delay improvement of the overall education system.
The ministry must stop its nonsensical experimenting with education policy that is bewildering students and parents. No one will take the ministry seriously if it merely rolls out half-baked ideas.
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