Saturday, 8 July 2017

Only the rich with 'gold spoons' get into top Korean universities?

SKY: Seoul National University, Korea University, Yonsei University

Kim Sang Gon, Education Minister
In order to get to the top universities in Korea, there's a comprehensive student record screening you have to prepare for.  It includes grades, introduction, list of awards, creative extracurriculars, volunteer work, research and essays.  It was introduced to help showcase individual student talents but it's just become a playing field for those with money and information.

A mother of a student preparing to enter university said, "It's seen as an investment.  You can spend over $35,000 in 10 months but if you can use money to change your kid's life, then of course people who have the means will use it.  That's why poor kids can't succeed in this kind of model."

Parents will spend thousands of dollars for elite high schools, tutors, extracurriculars and hagwons to embellish their kids' student records with the hopes of getting them into the top schools.  Elite high schools offer special programs to help with this.  For instance, they'll have experts coach students on high level research topics like 'analyzing chest CTs for lung cancer diagnosis' which they can then put on their record to help with admissions.  

Other parents team up to gather the latest information on what academics or extracurriculars to focus on to get into a top university.  They'll then build a curriculum using that information, hire the best private tutors and 'purchase' extracurriculars to gain admission. That's why this comprehensive student record screening is known as the gold spoon screening among many parents and students.

Kim Sang Gon said, "I will restore the education ladder that has crumbled, for equality of education opportunities."  One of President Moon Jae In's promises was to get rid of elite private high schools to promote education equality which has sparked controversy.

Naver: It all depends on how powerful your parents are?... 'The comprehensive student admission screening is a gold spoon screening'

(t/n: Naver recently made some changes in their comment system.  If I've marked a * before a comment, it means the original comment was "hidden due to the request of multiple users.")

*1. [+5638, -616] Normalize public education!!! I hope for this to happen, fighting!

*2. [+4286, -524] I support normalizing public education

3. [+3411, -353] Let's get rid of private schools and their corruption

*4. [+1658, -238] Make getting into university easy but harder to graduate from it. This is the answer.

*5 [+3197, -838] Is there a way for students to record that they're ilbe users on their admission screening?  I'm worried since they're people who could potentially become criminals...

6. [+811, -125] Extracurriculars only benefit those with gold spoons so it'd be nice if there was a limit on that ㅋㅋ

*7. [+2189, -598] The comprehensive screening didn't expand what I can show, it just limited me even more ugh

*8. [+838, -161] Normalize public education

9. [Deleted by user]

*10. [+892, -211] Let's just add more to what the comprehensive screening is lacking.  You say extracurriculars are advantageous to those with gold spoons but Moon Jae In's government pledged to lessen it
- [+122, -4] It's not that we need to get rid of the comprehensive screening because it benefits rich people, it's because we're driving children into an infinite battle with each other! It's truly an inhumane system which is why it needs to go
- [+96, 0] The comprehensive screening doesn't just have 1 or 2 problems. It's a complete mess. Nothing will change by just changing a couple of things. The biggest problem is the students involved are plunging into the temptation of immoral corruption.
- [+95, 0] Comprehensive screening = gold spoon screening... if we're being honest isn't this completely true?

Naver: It all depends on how powerful your parents are?... The student admission screening is a gold spoon screening
The Korea Times: Elite high school controversy heats up
The Hankyoreh: For prestigious university admissions, S. Korean students and parents in a war for information
The Korea Times: Monthly tuition at children's English academies exceed $1000


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