Korean education: Yay or Nay?


January 21, 2014 by sueflora

Hiya, it’s Sue.

I’m sorry we hadn’t blogged for a while, it’s because we had GCSE mocks so were quite busy over Christmas. BUT THEY’RE OVER NOW, HALLELUJAH.


From: http://www.blogs.wsj.com

So this one’s about education as well. I’ve been storing up in my thoughts for a while and actually did a presentation on this for my English mock oral:


So really I’m going to rant about the South Korean one, you’d think that a fifteen year old girl would be interested in celebrities or summing but I’m kinda a geek, haha. So as some of you may know I am in fact Korean and if therefore racist I’m racist to myself so it isn’t exactly racist I guess.
Okay, so the things about tiger moms and crazy parents who push their child to the limit, yeah it’s true. Here are some facts:

1) An average high school student ends their school day at around 10pm.

2) If this isn’t bad enough, they then go to study groups until early morning.

3) The only reason why academies called 학원 (hagwons) decide to allow their students to leave at ten (after they have attended school) is not because they think it’s too late but because there has been a curfew by the government. They, seeing the side effects of the oppressive system and the lack of sleep that all the students were having, decided that these hagwons can’t have teachers after ten. And there are patrols, actual patrols, to stop these academies; sounds like they are tracking down a viscious cult or something: it kinda is.

4) There is so much competition in literally everything. I know a girl who goes to a jump roping academy, yes, I mean the game that little girls play. They have lessons on techniques on jump roping, because apparently there is even competition to do well in that. I know. *FACEPALM* Why not spend that money on I don’t know, sponsoring a puppy or helping the homeless? Jesus Christ, what has this world come to?

5) Koreans are crazy about education really, society looks down on you if you don’t go to uni so around 84% of high school students go compared to the 49% in the UK.
The parents are constantly trying to get their child to a better university than their fellow students resulting in a large amount of money going into their academic fees (hagwons), this leading to debt problems in the future.
This is mainly because there is the thought that:


which is quite true in Korea.
So I guess that they are kinda doing it out of love with the excuse “I’m doing it for you” but I just think they’re psychopaths. Isn’t life worth enjoying? These parents just can’t stop, by this I mean that they just don’t know where to stop and also that they actually can’t. I mean that if they do try to break out, you instantly fall behind. If you just try to relax a second another student has lapped you because they’re not resting. So you can’t really relax, or you’ll never get to the uni you wanted or the degree- so I pity Korean students.
Some parents try to get out of this cycle by taking their child to study abroad, but this forms the language barrier and this is difficult as well. So you kinda lose both ways.

6) The university entrance test is called the CSAT (the Korean equivalent to an A-level) you take this on one single day so if you’re ill or just mess up on this one day hell breaks loose in your family. Many parents go to Buddhist temples or churches to pray the whole day while their child is taking the tests. Literally the whole country comes to a halt. They make sure there is less traffic so less sound during any listening tests; if you’re late for some reason students get police escorts. It’s that significant.

7) The CSAT itself mainly consists of multiple choice questions, based on passive memorisation done beforehand. Essays don’t really exist like what we do in history or english, it’s mainly facts and figures. You get why Asians are so good at maths? Some of you might say “oh it’ll be so much easier that way” it’s not really, because there is a colossal volume of information one needs to get their way through and needs to achieve impossibly high grades. For example to get into a medical school, most of us know it’s extremely difficult even in the UK, but in Korea you practically need to get all 100% in your CSATs or you’re out of the game.

8) Student suicide rates are three time higher than in the UK.

What really angers me is that Korean parents can’t really see the truth of why their child is severely depressed, under so much stress and eventually suicide as it just gets to them. Or if the parent comes to realise there isn’t much they can do except wait for time to pass quickly and hope their child gets to uni because once you get to uni you can let your hair down. People generally think that the time when one needs to study the most is probably in their last high school year, a person I know got a hip misalignment after sitting down for too long studying in their last year of high school, I know intense.
So what do you think? Yay or nay? The system itself gets the grades as they are second in the world for mathematic ability and many leading scientists come from South Korea; politicians such as Obama and Michael Gove applaud them for it and support aspects of the system. However the educational system such as in Finland is immensely successful as well, but they take a very different approach. They barely have any tests or home work, have longer break times and essentially prepare their students for life and so the quality of life is a lot higher in Finland. In Finland the teachers are extremely intelligent as they only choose teachers from the top 10% of graduates and are often carry an equal status to doctors or lawyers.

So why doesn’t Korea just change their system? Education is quite a fragile thing to change as Korean society has evolved around education so changing it so rapidly will upset parts of the public.
Although it seems that there is not much hope the Government is trying to do small things to make changes, such as encouraging more young people to take up vocational careers rather than degree related careers.
But seriously,

From: http://www.unitedspongebob.com


3 thoughts on “Korean education: Yay or Nay?

  1. dentyleg says:

    I agree with Steve. Government should probably invest in alternate schemes for students, more internships and opportunities. 🙂

    Love your blog SueFlora 🙂

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