Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Literacy in Korea

The numbers of Koreans who can't read are very small. Korean is a scientific script easy to  master. Foreigners who want to learn Korean find it easy. In a column in the Catholic Peace Weekly a literary critic give us some interesting facts to ponder.

The low rate of of illiteracy has helped the country to develop economically. The desire for education and literacy all helped. This was also a factor in spreading Christianity.

In 2014, OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ) conducted a survey of 22 countries in the OECD on comprehension of what is read. They wanted to determine the quality of the work force in the different countries. Those from ages 16-24  were tied with Japan in 3rd place in understanding.  However, with those from 55 to 65, out of the 22 countries surveyed, Korea was number 20th.

The difference between the younger and the older members of the labor force in England was only one point, in the United States an 8 points difference. In Korea we had a 48 point difference between the two groups. Korea had the largest disparity between the two groups.

The columnist does not believe age is a sufficient reason for the disparity. Many see the reason in the failure to read as one ages. With age one avoids reading any amount of difficult script and this is the reason for the difference according to the writer. In another survey made the average person reads at least one book a year. This comes to 6.6 out of 10 reading at least one book a year. Compared to the past we have more who are doing less reading but those who read increased the number of books read.

The older group is reading less, the younger more. So the disparity between the two groups is getting larger. With the older generation increasing, the health of the elders will be jeopardized by this lack of mental stimulation.

In the past efforts were made to have the young read, however, the columnist wants the nation to begin working to get the older generation to read. This is an urgent necessity for the writer.

Reading expands a person's vision and his ability to communicate increases. Life expectancy increases and quality of life and satisfaction increases. The pursuit of happiness and the well being of society is fostered. 

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