A father’s pain

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A father’s pain

The author is a national team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The school institution has existed from as far back as the third millennium B.C. It was started by the Sumerians who had established themselves in what is now southern Iraq in the Mesopotamia age, according to their image accounts left in cuneiform. Samuel Noah Kramer (1897-1990), a former professor of the University of Pennsylvania who had devoted his life to the research of the Sumerians, defined their education system as the first school for mankind. He later authored “History Begins at Sumer: Third-Nine Firsts in Recorded History.”

Parents in those ancient days also had been passionate about educating their children. The clay tablets recorded fathers handing over crops to their teachers to win favor for their children. They would scold their sons for falling behind in their academics. According to Kramer, those who went to school, belonged to the wealthy class. The lower class, who could not afford education, was denied of social mobility.

Five thousand years later today, schools are not exclusive to the elites. Anyone with a good brain and hard work can get into a top school and better their chance of moving up the social ladder. But one thing remains common with ancient Sumerians — a twisted ego and over-eagerness by the elites in education for their children. They wish to put their children in the best possible schools. They can commit illegality if they use foul means to put them to good schools.

On Aug. 24, Pusan National University (PNU) decided to revoke the 2015 admission of Cho Min, daughter of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, to its medical school. Cho’s credentials included internships influenced by her powerful parents, of which both lower and appeals courts found certificates and documents fabricated. Upon PNU’s decision, Cho wrote on Facebook that he was anguished as a father. The father could be in agony to watch her daughter lose her medical degree as well as possibly doctor’s license.

But Cho should not be too engrossed with his own pain. There are a multitude of “average” parents who support their children without having the fortune and power to adorn the credentials of them. They had been forced to feel guilty and dejected to see the elites using their influence to help their children get into top schools and land good jobs. Their agony had started a lot earlier than Cho’s.
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