Catholic education in many parts of the world means little; for the Catholic element is seen as peripheral to the educational process. This is not the case in Korea. Pope Benedict said in regard to education: "Are we ready to commit our entire self--intellect and will, mind and heart--to God? Do we accept the truth Christ reveals? Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools? Is it given fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, through prayer, acts of charity, a concern for justice, and respect for God's creation? Only in this way do we really bear witness to the meaning of who we are and what we uphold." These words and similar words addressed to educators by the Church are taken seriously in Korea.
Catholic papers introduce us to the new president of Sangji, a two and
four year technical school in the Andong Diocese. One of the first
technical schools in Korea, it was founded by three Luxembourgian nuns
of the order Soeurs de la Doctrine Chrétienne.
purpose of the school is to educate students for an occupation. This
choice will help them find happiness in the life which will soon be
known, some believe, as 'Homo-Hundred'. Until 1990, there was no country
where the average lifespan exceeded 80 years. Since then, six nations,
including Japan, Italy and Australia, have exceeded this average
lifespan, and in 2020 it will be over 30, including Korea.
president of Sangji says the school will
be 'teaching for happiness'. Striving to be number one is not what the
school is all about, he said, but to form students who will be happy in
life. Those that
find the present emphasis on competition foreign to their way of
thinking, he recommends their going to the Sangji Technical School. They
will find there, he said, a different kind of competition. Too many
students, in the usual school environment, have to deal with
stress and Sangji is forming students for a different goal.
present their students with small goals which, when achieved
systematically, will give them the courage and the ability to dream and
go on for loftier goals.
students during a semester have to spend 40 hours in service to
others. Mass is offered daily at the school, and 30 religious sisters
are there to guide the students, giving the school a Catholic
atmosphere. Technical knowledge is imparted but combined with the
holistic formation of the person.
80 percent of their graduates
have found work after graduation, and the school is aiming still
emphasis on something else besides marks and success is a welcomed
relief. Parents should be thankful that such schools as Sangji exist,
providing them with the opportunity to send their children to a school
where educating the whole person is the top priority.