It takes a village to educate kids

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It takes a village to educate kids

Education is no longer the sole responsibility of schools and teachers. Only when parents and members of the community actively participate in teaching our children can the education they get at school be enriched. That is why schools should not be separate from the community at large.

It is fortunate that big companies, public institutes and universities are increasingly making donations of their time and expertise to programs for elementary, middle and high school students across the country, so as to further develop the students’ potential for growth.

The Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science & Creativity has set a good precedent in this area. Its program currently runs with the support of 11 conglomerates - including Hyundai Motor, LG Electronics, SKT and KT - and 25 government-funded research institutes as well as 63 technical colleges around the country.

The other day, Hyundai Motor’s executives and employees participated in a program to help teach the students of a primary school in a rural area of Gyeonggi about cars. Volunteers from the company taught the students about different types of cars, manufacturing processes and automobile safety. Hyundai plans to offer the same program to students in other rural areas around the country through the end of May.

These kinds of donations are not limited to the corporate realm. Individuals can also extend a helping hand by donating their knowledge, talents and experience to students in need. The programs for middle school students spearheaded by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education last December are also a good example. Around 200 top-notch volunteers, including a world-renowned scientist from Seoul National University, a famous novelist and a former newscaster, visited local schools or invited students to their workplaces to help inspire their creativity. Such programs can serve as ideal models for future generations.

The more educational opportunities outside the classroom we can provide, the more diverse experiences we can offer our students. Programs such as these can help turn an educational system based on rote memorization into a balanced and lively opportunity for learning. But the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology cannot rely solely on the goodness of institutions and individuals to make donations. It should first establish a network that links students in need with those willing to donate their skills, time and energy.
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