English headache for Lee myung-bak’s transition committee

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January 30, 2008
President-elect Lee Myung-bak’s transition committee has been creating increasing confusion over its plan to strengthen English education.
The committee called off the English-immersion education plan, which required all subjects to be taught in English, before even a week had passed since the introduction of the measure.
The committee also took a step back on the matter of substituting the English part of the College Scholastic Ability Test with an alternative English ability evaluation test.
They say that in 2013, the first year the plan will be carried out, only reading and listening abilities will be evaluated and that more comprehensive evaluation of speaking and writing will come in 2015.
We suspect that such changes have been caused by criticism from schools. Parents and teachers are having a hard time figuring out what to do.
The presidential committee is largely responsible for the current confusion of the education policy. The biggest problem is that the committee created so many policies all at once.
It is as if they are presenting the administration’s goals before fully explaining how to achieve them.
What’s more, the committee has been vague about its plans following recent opposition. This undermines the committee’s credibility.
The committee is heading in the right direction in strengthening English education. It is obvious that we need to revise our current system to better respond to global demands.
However, it takes more than desire. A feasible plan should first be drawn up. There are plenty of preconditions that need to be met, such as hiring more teachers who are capable of teaching in English, retraining existing teachers and reducing class sizes.
Today’s public hearing on ways to strengthen English education is an important step forward.
But there is much more to be done. The plan should be carried out only after the new administration has listened to the opinions of schools and refined a detailed plan.
The reality is that most parents and students suffer because of English education, which makes it understandable for the committee to reform English education policy.
The committee should remember that education is not just a way for an administration to show off.
It is a vital national policy.


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