Monday, September 28, 2009
Koreans have a great love for learning and they will sacrifice a great deal to educate their children. This is a gift of Confucianism. In the Choson period of Korean History passing the civil servant exams would guarantee a life of honor and service to society.
Koreans because of this tradition know what learning can do for the individual,the family and society. In a way it is a religious notion. In Buddhism the future is reincarnation in Confucianism it is living through their children. This gives them a strong desire to educate their children but there is also a shadow side to this.
The educational system can be geared for exams and not for making the person. In an article in the Catholic Times the writer mentions that he has two daughters preparing for college and has told them they will very likely change jobs often: more than preparing for a job to prepare for life.
The second recommendation was instead of picking a field for study and occupation from only a personal desire they should pick a field that will be of help to the world to others to our environment.
This does seem extremely altruistic and overly idealistic. It is an attempt to fight against the prevalent feeling in the society. The effort to get into the first class schools in Korea is great and the competition is fierce. There is consequently the attempt by some to buy their way into the best of schools. The penalty in Korea is less than three years of prison and a fine of less than 10,000 dollars. It is very steep and yet you have those who attempt it. The government is doing what it can to eradicate this corruption with sincere determination.
There are those in every society and culture who live by the law of the jungle. " If I want something than to get it I will take all the ways and means available. If I have the strength I will get it" The new liberalism.
The writer of the article mentions that in many Catholic parishes they have started the 100 days of prayer in preparation for the exams for college. He laments that the prayers ascending to God are selfishly motivated to achieve success for their child, no matter what, and he sees this as in root similar to those who use immoral means to to pass the exam. They both are motivated by selfishness. It is also a sign of the fervor that is attached to preparations for college entrance.