Maybe I should take back or remove the post about Lee Myung-bak being the right man for President… 😉
Candidates vow to curtail cram schools
originally posted here: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2883715
December 10, 2007
The candidates on the campaign trail for president all agree on one thing: Koreans are spending too much on cram schools, particularly those that specialize in teaching English.
They all have their own plans on how to curtail that number, according to their education policies, which they have posted on their Web sites.
The question is how.
None of the candidates have clarified how they would fund their plans. The typical Korean family spends about 3 million won ($3,300) each year on extra tutoring, according to an estimate from the Ministry of Education and Human Resources. In the affluent Gangnam area, the number is about 8.3 million a year for after-school classes in math, science, essay-writing and English.
In general, Lee Myung-bak and Lee Hoi-chang say permitting each college to use their own independent methods to decide whom to admit will help students cut down on the number of cram schools students attend.
The liberal candidates, including Chung Dong-young, Moon Kook-hyun and Kwon Young-ghil, advocate improving the public schools and making their quality more uniform as a solution to curtailing the cost of private education.
Each candidate stands differently about the details, however.
Along with undoing the current government’s policies, Lee Myung-bak wants to create 50 “meister high schools,” where the young and talented can be trained in special arts and culture fields, as well as 150 boarding schools and 100 private high schools that are given free rein to follow a different curriculum. He also wants to hire more native English speakers to teach in high schools.
Lee Hoi-chang agrees with Lee Myung-bak about giving more freedom to schools, but also wants to hire more teachers. He plans to hire 100,000 more teachers, to make the ratio one teacher to every 13 students in the junior and senior high schools. The ratio is 30 to 40 in each classroom at the moment. His camp also says Lee will increase the number of English classes in the school curriculum so students can depend less on cram schools.
Chung Dong-young offered a drastic change in the entrance system. Starting in 2011, he said, he would scrap the College Scholastic Ability Test altogether and replace it with an easier qualification test. He also said universities should select students based only on their school records and not on how they do on the qualification test.
Rhee In-je wants to hire 3,000 Koreans living abroad as English teachers in public schools. Moon Kook-hyun wants to start teaching students English in schools at an earlier age. Moon said children should start learning English by the age of 6.
Kwon Young-ghil, meanwhile, opposed teaching English altogether. The current English education system has only aggravated the gap between the haves and have-nots, he said.
So, what do teachers think about the candidates’ education policies?
In a recent survey of 1,000 teachers across the country, nearly half said they were either having trouble deciding whose policy they prefer or simply had decided already that they did not like any of the candidates’ education promises.
Of those who named their choice for president, Lee Myung-bak was most popular, with 25.1 percent support. Chung Dong-young came in second with 8.6 percent, while Lee Hoi-chang trailed right behind with 8.5 percent, according to the survey by the Korea Federation of Teacher’s Associations. Candidates Moon Kook-hyun and Kwon Young-ghil received 6.3 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, while Rhee In-je received 0.2 percent. The remaining 43 percent abstained from responding.
By Lee Min-a Staff Reporter [firstname.lastname@example.org]