[EDLING:408] Korean Government: "Almost No Benefit From Foreign Language Education"
francis.hult at UTSA.EDU
Mon Oct 1 13:38:40 UTC 2007
> Government: "Almost No Benefit From Foreign Language Education"
> With the South Korean government pushing to build foreign language
> institutions - English villages, specialized high schools - at
> seemingly breakneck speed, the Korea Educational Policy Institute is
> calling for a time-out. There is no obvious benefit to these elite
> institutions, they say, when you factor in the fact that they only
> admit top students to start with. They also accuse them of being
> implemented without clear plans, which certainly rings true to me.
> Government education policy think tank the Korea Educational Policy
> Institute criticized current policy on specialized high schools,
> saying that in reality there is almost no benefit from foreign
> language education and the introduction of a policy of elite
> specialized high schools is not producing any special results.
> On the 12th at the Appeal Commission for Teacher's lecture hall in
> Samcheong-dong, Kang Yeong-hye, education policy research leader at
> KEDI, made a similar presentation about "the present location and
> growth of specialized high schools" at an educational reform debate
> sponsored by developers. Head researcher Kang analyzed the language
> scores of students in science vs. regular schools and foreign language
> vs. regular schools, and introduced his findings by saying, "we
> confirmed the effectiveness of science high schools but found there
> was almost no benefit from foreign language high schools."
> Science schools and foreign language schools all are considerably
> ahead of regular schools but if you control for the variables of the
> quality of the students, schools, and curricula, the difference
> between foreign language schools and regular high schools cannot be
> found. Kang emphasized that, "this shows that the benefits of the
> specialized high schools which parents prefer are really the result of
> having better environments and school districts, and selecting
> superior students."
> Kang spoke about the fact that specialized high schools are the cause
> of private education [in other words, hagwons], saying, "our research
> concluded that to enter a foreign language high school, 60.3% of
> students received private education, and in the Seoul metropolitan
> area 83.4% did so. Because entrance exams for specialized high schools
> exceed the middle school curriculums, private education to prepare for
> the specialized schools, aside from the burden of fierce competition,
> leads to a crisis in public education as third-year classes collapse."
> Kang also said, "as a considerable portion of the benefits of a
> specialized high school is in their selection of students with
> outstanding grades and family backgrounds, we believe that the
> currently adopted policy on elite institutions cannot produce
> significant results. In particular in the case of foreign language
> high schools the meaning and character if the established policy of a
> 'foreign language genius' is unclear."
> He proposed four reforms of specialized high schools.
> 1. Eliminate the current provisions in education law for specialized
> high schools and reform them under new a new system
> 2. That foreign language high schools be judged by periodic evaluations.
> 3. That more than just scholastic performance be considered for
> application to language high schools.
> 4. New methods for college entrance be expanded.
> On the subject of the 'international high schools' which educational
> boards are driven to develop, he said, "the rash establishment of
> international high schools can bring the same problems as foreign
> language high schools so their identity must be made clear in the
> early stages." Kim Jin-hyeong, professor at Konkuk University who
> attended as a debater, said, "the limitations of specialized high
> schools, both for science and foreign languages, means their form is
> not right. Especially as foreign language schools have lost their
> capacity as specialized schools, changing to private, autonomous
> establishments would be a step in the right direction."
> Jeong Hyeon-cheol, researcher at KAIST, said, "current science high
> schools have too many limits placed on them to play their role in the
> gifted education system. Their school management and aid systems are
> not very different from those of normal schools. Preparations for a
> national policy of aiding and managing science high schools are
> urgently needed." The Korean Federation of Teacher's Associations
> review said, "the changing plans to the specialization of foreign
> language high schools are not plans for a foundational solution for
> the improvement of the elite education system but rather shortsighted
> ideas that would create more problems. We call for a new, careful
> discussion starting from the beginning."
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