[Letters] Instill students with visions, not just a computer

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[Letters] Instill students with visions, not just a computer

The governmental aid for computers and Internet connection fees for low-income households with children is found to deteriorate academic performance, according to recent reports. As a way to ameliorate information capacities for the children, the scheme assumed that a desirable level of results would yield if similar levels of material conditions is fulfilled. The improvement in physical materials, however, is only a sufficient condition, not a necessary condition.

Those students subjected to government aid lacked not only in terms of physical conditions but more of ambition, motivation and self-identification in comparison to their peers. The latter problems are more fundamental. Taking these things into consideration, the government should come up with a scheme which can instill visions into the students. The research results show that if only half the conditions are met, the reversed outcome can be produced. What would be the educational strategies for making those demotivated students become inspired with dreams and visions?

What matters the most is to encourage teachers to bear affection for students as well as holy-calling on their duty. The Education Welfare Investment Priority Area Program driven by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has increased the amount of workload without any backup for teachers. Consequently, qualified teachers leave the area. The complementary policy should set its top priority in inducing competent teachers to stay and teach in this specially-designated area.

The next strategy is to run programs which enable students to cultivate dreams and motivations. Gwangju National University of Education, for example provides students of multicultural families with material supports and programs to encourage visions and ideas.

The government and local educational authorities should give careful thought to budget, programs and manpower. The Head Start Movement in the United States has not achieved expected result from failure of securing qualified teachers. The level of salary for kindergarten teachers is much lower than that of their counterparts in private kindergartens. In addition, since the program only falls under the children of low-income classes, they could only learn low-class culture, perpetuating a vicious circle.

Last but not least, an interim assessment is necessary to seek out the cases of improvement. We should carefully look at the students who become inspired with motivation and better with their academic achievements from the aid. By analyzing the characteristics and surroundings of the students, we can conceive better educational strategies tailored to our children.

Education experts should not merely criticize material support in education policies for the sake of criticism. A step further is needed to develop measures which can complement the incomplete policies. And to persuade society and government into implementing a better scheme, while instilling children with dreams is on us.

Park Nam-gi, president of Gwangju National University of Education
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