Delicate path to CSAT reform

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Delicate path to CSAT reform

Education Minister Ahn Byong-man has announced that 70 percent or more of all College Scholastic Aptitude Test questions will come from lectures aired by the state-run Educational Broadcasting System starting from this year. Around 30 percent of university entrance exam questions came from EBS high school lectures last year.

Ahn’s statement marks the first time the Education Ministry has revealed the exact weight given to EBS tutorials in the national university entrance exam, which represents a firm commitment to achieving its goals.

It is a step in the right direction to strengthen ties between EBS lectures and the CSAT, because if the quality of EBS lectures can be raised to a higher level, it may contribute to decreasing students’ dependence on private education.

The question is how EBS lectures can be drastically improved so that examiners can refer to the lectures when writing exam questions.

Unfortunately, EBS lectures have fallen short of students’ expectations in terms of quality and content and have failed to yield satisfactory results so far.

This year, the Education Ministry decided to invite some 50 renowned lecturers to participate and introduced a system of dispatching exemplary teachers to the current EBS campus, as well as expanding the scope of customized lectures to meet students’ respective needs. However, these efforts have not yet been proven beneficial.

Against this backdrop, if more CSAT questions come from EBS lectures without any preparation, it will only lead to an adverse effect, such as a less precise assessment of aptitude.

If EBS lectures become excessively influential, dependence on only EBS programs might lead students to ignore lectures at school, relatively speaking. EBS lectures may be given to students during extra classes in school. However, if EBS lectures invade the spheres of regular school classes, then that will cause severe difficulties.

We are concerned about any possible extreme swing, in which students could stick to memorizing EBS lectures and lecture materials all day long.

Consideration of this issue requires a careful approach.

Increasing the ratio of EBS lectures in a gradual manner is the right path to take, lest it cause chaos to schools and students, after diversifying the broadcaster’s programs and raising the overall level of quality.

We should not make the error of undermining public education to reduce the burden of private educational expenses.

It would be nonsensical to cut off the nose to spite the face.
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