Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Economist : The Hellgate to College and Beyond in Korea

Source : The Economist
Personally, I moved to the US before I finished middle school in South Korea. And I finished my Bachelor's degree in the US, without having to deal with the harshest part of the Korean education system - the infamous College Entrance Exam. So I haven't experienced it first-hand, and I'm not an expert in this to really enlighten you. But I have seen, heard, and read a lot about this. In fact, I used to tell my lazy college friends that an average elementary/middle school student in Korea probably studies more than an average (lazy) college student in the U.S..

The Economist featured an article about this. Quite extensive, more so than I first thought. Of course, there is so much more to this phenomenon, and I don't agree entirely with the points made in this article. Nevertheless, it is a good read. You better realize that you had it pretty easy, my American readers. (Sorry, just another thing I like to tell my friends...)
A poll by CLSA, a stockbroker, found that 100% of Korean parents want their children to go to university. Such expectations can be stressful. In one survey a fifth of Korean middle and high school students said they felt tempted to commit suicide. In 2009 a tragic 202 actually did so. The suicide rate among young Koreans is high: 15 per 100,000 15-24-year-olds, compared with ten Americans, seven Chinese and five Britons. Min-sung’s older sister, Kim Jieun, who took the exams a few years ago, recalls: “I thought of emigrating, I hated the education system so much.”
Read the article here. The Economist - The One-shot Society

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