Tuesday, April 30, 2002

There has been a plethora of criticism over Asia's education system, including Korea. Indeed, there is plenty to criticise. For starters, there are the poor pedagogical methods based on rote learning, excessive subjects, six day weeks and long hours in after school institutions. The consequences of such a system include stress, poor health, suicide and the rising occurrence of murder. Government is proposing to reform the system but the crux of the problem lies in the underlying values that created the system.

Change is urgent but depending on government is futile; the agents of change are todays youth who go overseas to study. Where once US was the destination of choice, the high cost and difficulty of getting into the US is causing Korean's to look further a field to gain their overseas study experience. Australia's number one source of foreign students is Korea, while Canada and New Zealand also receive a large supply of Korean students every year. UK too is getting in on the act with the University of Manchester, University of Nottingham and University of Warwick opening a joint office in Seoul this week aimed at enticing Korean students to their respective ivory towers.

As Korean's fan out into the greater world and gain more diverse experiences, particularly in education they will come to understand more clearly how they want education in their own country to develop. The implication being that students spending time in a foreign country will not only gain from the experience but the next generation in turn can benefit from the lessons of their parents. The public can then demand an education system based on their first hand experience and knowledge of education systems throughout the world.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui