Monday, March 4, 2013

Character Education

Character education  is a phrase we hear often in Korean society. The reason is simple; school programs need to focus more on educating the whole person, and less on preparing a student to do well in exams and to succeed in the business world. This narrow view of the educational process, so destructive to the future success of many students, has been the prevalent model.

The new president of the Catholic University of Daegu hopes to work  against this  trend. "A loving person willing to serve others is the person we want to form," he said during an interview carried by both Catholic papers. "More important than the score in the international test for English is character education. Your score in the international test for English may be considered the necessary qualification for success, but it is not adequate. The society we live in is asking for people of character."

The president, close to seventy, laughingly said that he should be  with his wife and grandchildren in the country, but that he accepted the office of president, hoping to make character education and creativity his motivational starting point for his term in office.  His experience  in education is extensive, having been  president of other universities. He is hoping all will participate in his efforts to make communication and harmony the atmosphere of the university. His door will be open, he said, to all who want to speak with him.  He will spend all his energy and all he has learned over the years to developing the Daegu Catholic University, which is the largest Catholic University in Korea.

"The students of the university are mostly from the middle class. They will be easy to teach, for the expectations from society and their families are not high," he said. "For this reason, they will have their own expectations for life and the job of the university will be to help them realize these expectations. The opportunities for employment at the present time are few. But while they were students in high school, they had the protection from parents. Now we will be there to help them look for new fields."

The president mentioned that the schools not in the capital metropolitan area are having difficulty with enrollment, but said that he's going to take on this challenge and work to make the distinguishing marks of the Catholic University of Daegu better known throughout the country.

He wants the students to remember that in our society, it is necessary to be open to adventure. There are all kinds of opportunities for this to happen, he said. In his own life the books he read in college in character formation became his own flesh and blood for life.

The new job he has undertaken at his age is a challenge, he admits, but he will do all he can to make the university distinguished in three areas: build character by resting it firmly on Catholic principles, establish an education-orientated university, and educate within an atmosphere of creativity.