[Letters] Toward a better educational future

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[Letters] Toward a better educational future

Two weeks ago, the Suneung, a Scholastic Aptitude Test was conducted across Korea. It is a time of stress, worry and uneasiness. Canada has no such thing. There is no equivalent here, not even the SAT scores that American universities require for admission. Although the University of Toronto is one of the top twenty universities in the world, there is little anxiety about the admissions process. There are no reports of suicides of those failing to get a seat and there is a general sense of well-being about attending universities and, like buses, there is an acceptance that there will be another one to choose from if a student’s first choice is unsuccessful.

Education here is a right and a privilege. In Korea it is an obligation and a necessity. I lived in Seoul until six years ago. I know the pressures; I have seen the faces of the successful and the less successful. Elation or fear is revealed not only on the faces of the candidates but in the faces of their families and friends. Having lived in both cultures and having a close understanding of these ideas and influences, I want to see some of the tensions eased out of the Suneung.

The criteria needs to be changed because the test is overvalued. Harvard does not do this and it is an educational phenomenon, Yale does not do this and neither does Oxford or Cambridge or Princeton. Why then are we persisting with an archaic system that is possibly creating more harm than good?

I am recommending a progressive step that will help in the long run. I will always be Korean and proud of it but I want to be prouder tomorrow than I am today. Let us take a look at the premier education institutions around the world and import what has been tested and proven successful at the highest levels elsewhere. It is time to remember the Suneung with fondness rather that something to be anticipated with fear.

by Haejune (Henry) Yang
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