[Letters] Crammed in cram schoolsGiven that education is the only ladder up which one can move towards a higher position in society, it is understandable that Korean students are excessively enrolled in after-school academies, or hagwons. Parents want their kids to be smarter, more successful and eventually lead better lives than theirs.
Unfortunately, some kids whose parents can afford the expensive hagwons do not live up to their parents’ expectations. A report says that the student group that gets the most stress in Korea is middle school second graders in Gangnam district. Then, it would not be far-fetched to say that not every student who attends pricey institutes studies as hard as their parents want them to. They are just their parents’ avatars who are trying to achieve their masters’ goals and dreams. Some detest those hagwons.
This is what we need to ponder upon. Students are committing suicide due to pressure from their parents wasting money on their children wasting time in hagwons. Even those students who successfully end up living up to their parents’ standards are not likely to be satisfied with their future careers.
Education should be equal. However, it is a matter of equal opportunity, not of equal jobs. Everyone can be a future Kim Yu-na or a future Ban Ki-moon, but that is not everyon’s dream. It is our children’s choice. Nobody has a right to force them into being someone who they are not. Parents as well as teachers need to bear in mind that God gave each and every one of us different strengths, in terms of intellectual ability.
Daniel Lim, English instructor in Seoul
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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