Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Understanding the Problems of Students

Dropping out of school is a serious problem in Korea. According to one recent news report, over 280,000 school-aged children are not in school, which amounts to 4 percent of total students. Aside from this regrettable statistic, schools do an excellent job in preparing students for college, which makes Korea, according to the International Student Assessment Program, one of the highest ranking countries in the world for providing quality education to students. .

Since the Korean educational system does such an excellent job in comparison to other countries, it is easy to see why they do not want to jeopardize their well-deserved  reputations as educators. The price for this excellence is high in terms of the number of students who are not able to keep up with the expected pace, and dropout. To offer some measure of relief for those who find the competition too demanding, the government has permitted the diocese of Taegu to begin program for these students.

The editorial in the Catholic Times, and an accompanying article, recounts what the diocese of Taegu has decided to do to help these students. The Ministry of Education has approved a program for one of these schools in Taegu."Seedbed for Dreams" is the name of the school, which will open in September. They will be given students who find it difficult to make it in the government schools. And they will continue as members of their school classes, getting full credit for their studies, and will be allowed to graduate with the other members of their regular class.

The special classes will be limited to 15 students.  The editorial mentions that a big problem for these students has been a lack of concern for them, with no one showing an interest in their problems. This will change with the small classes and with individual attention. 

Students will cover the same subjects as they would in the government schools, but in an alternative school fashion. They not only will be concentrating on the texts provided but will be free to study the subject by moving beyond the written material, exercising more freedom and creativity than normal.

The alternative curriculum will offer human development subjects: art activities, city farming; and scouting activities such as sports and hiking, do-it-yourself arts and crafts, computers, and SNS subjects. For students living in circumstances filled with conflict, they will have the opportunity to take courses in music and art therapy, which will help in developing an optimistic view of  life.

Korea is proud of what students have been able to accomplish. And the Ministry of Education is trying to reach out to those who have problems with the present educational methods by making the curricula more humane for all, allowing students more opportunities to enjoy the learning experience and restoring their ability to dream of a successful future life. 

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