Saturday, April 9, 2011

High Expense Low Efficiency Educational System

Writing for the Catholic Times a professor reminds us that 80 percent of the students that graduate from high school in Korea go on to college. Over 2 million students are enrolled in college and 600,000 are studying abroad, and 25 percent of students are taking time off from school for one reason or another.

The financial burden on students is twice what it was 10 years ago. In other OECD countries, college expenses would be 1/10 of the families income while in Korea it is 1/3, which means that most families have to go into debt.

Back about 40 years ago families could sell their ox to send their children to college. After graduation, they would be able to pay back the money they borrowed, but that is no longer true. Now over 40 percent will find it difficult to find appropriate work after graduation, and of that number only 6 percent go on to graduate school.

90 percent of students who graduate have over a B grade, so it is not a  question of lack of ability. From the time they enter college they try to prepare for their future employment. The days of romantic dreaming, human rights issues, and student movements are no longer easily found on campus; the intense competition of our modern society has seeped into the campus.

With tuition costs going up, students know that about 40 percent of them will not be able to find work. This also affects the teachers who push ahead with their own studies to improve future employment possibilities. This can mean they will have less time to devote to  class preparation. 

Our society has not been able to provide enough work for the number of students who graduate from college; supply of students exceeds the demand. The government has tried but has not succeeded in fixing the problem.
The number of colleges and college graduates she has produced is second to none in the world.  No one can deny that this is a reason Korea has gone from being a poor country, not too many years ago, to where she is today. However, is it not time  to reflect on whether we have too many graduating from college? And whether the burden on families sending their children to college is now at the critical point?  Might it not be time, the professor concludes, to reevaluate the high expense and low efficiency educational system we have created?

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