High School on Yongsan Garrison to Keep “American” In Its Name

I agree that the word “American” should be kept in the name of the school to distinguish it from other international schools in South Korea:

After a public outcry, the word “American” was restored to the name of the soon-to-be-consolidated middle/high school at the Army’s Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, officials said Wednesday.

“Please know that we acknowledge and appreciate the proud legacy of our Seoul American Schools,” Lois Rapp, a Department of Defense Education Activity official, said in an email. “The combined school will be named Seoul American Middle/High School.”

Falling enrollment due to the ongoing move of U.S. troops and their families to Camp Humphreys as the military transitions its headquarters 40 miles south of Seoul prompted DODEA to combine the Seoul American Middle School and the Seoul American High School.

In a memo to parents and a recent town hall, school officials said the combined school would be called the Seoul Middle High School.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link.

ROK Supreme Court Rules that Parents Not Responsible for Paying for Kid’s College Tuition

Another example of the expansion of the entitlement culture.  Fortunately the ROK Supreme Court shot down this attempt to make parents responsible for paying for the tuition of their adult children:

Parents do not have custodial duties for adult child, the top court has ruled.

The Supreme Court set the rule with a case in which an adult son filed a suit against his divorced father, demanding he cover the cost of studying in the United States.

The court rejected the claim, stating that the father was not obliged to look after his adult child.

The father-son dispute dates back to 2010 when the father’s second son fled to the U.S. at age 15 for study, without his father’s consent. The father refused to support the son there, including school tuition and other living costs.

The parents divorced shortly afterward, with the mother given custody and the father obliged to support their basic life.

In 2016, the son filed a suit against the father, demanding that he pay 140 million won ($123,000) to cover tuition and living costs at a prestigious university to which he was admitted in 2014.

The son claimed his father was obliged to support him financially because “an increasing number of children make their living with money from their parents.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

South Korea to Begin Child Abuse Inspections of Elementary School Children After Murder

Elementary school students in South Korea will be facing increased scrutiny from teachers for signs of child abuse this year:

South Korea will check all 480,000 children set to enter elementary school this year for signs of child abuse, the Education Ministry said Sunday (Feb 5).

“If soon-to-be enrollees are unaccounted for, failing to show up at preliminary meetings organised by their designated schools, we will pay a visit to their houses and check their living situation,” said an official from the Education Ministry.

This marks the first time that the government conducts a nationwide inspection of pre-school children, after a high-profile case last year revealed a loophole in the current education system to detect child abuse cases.

In February 2016, the body of seven-year-old boy named Shin Won Young, who had been locked up and beaten for three months by his stepmother – was found months after his death.  [Strait Times]

You can read more at the link, but there have been other cases of kids not showing up to school and months later have been found to be killed by their parents.

South Korean Parliament Begins Process to Ban State Sponsored Textbooks

It looks like the state sponsored textbooks is another casualty of the President Park political scandal:

Protesters against state sponsored textbooks.

The parliament’s education committee on Friday passed a bill to ban state-authored textbooks amid the boycott from conservative parties.

The National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports & Tourism Committee approved the bill that bans the use of textbooks whose copyrights are held by the government. The bill has been handed over to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee.

The bill targets the Park Geun-hye government’s plan to provide middle and high school students with state-authored history textbooks, which critics say is intended to imbue students with rightist views of the nation’s modern history.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but the significance of this is that these textbooks are hold overs from the Sunshine Policy years where leftist teachers were able to get pro-North Korean textbooks into the schools.  Today the Sunshine Policy and its leftist supporters have been greatly discredited, but the books still remain in the schools which is what the Park administration however incompetently was trying to address.

Picture of the Day: ROK College Exam Grading

Grading college entrance exams

A senior student looks at a slip of her self-graded score on the state-administrated scholastic aptitude test at Seocho High School in Seoul on Nov. 18, 2016. The official scores for the nationwide exam will be announced about a month later. The exam, which took place the previous day, is a deciding factor in entering college, with the spring semester beginning in March. (Yonhap)

Nation Wide College Entrance Exams Conducted In South Korea

Here is an example of a major cultural difference between how much the United States and South Korea value the importance of national testing:

A test-taker gets encouragement from his mother in front of a high school in central Seoul on Nov. 17, 2016, before entering the school to sit for the state-administrated college entrance exam that takes place nationwide the same day. Some 605,000 students nationwide are taking the test to enter college in the spring semester that begins in March. (Yonhap)

A test-taker gets encouragement from his mother in front of a high school in central Seoul on Nov. 17, 2016, before entering the school to sit for the state-administrated college entrance exam that takes place nationwide the same day. Some 605,000 students nationwide are taking the test to enter college in the spring semester that begins in March. (Yonhap)

Some 606,000 high school seniors and graduates in South Korea took the state-administered annual college entrance exam Thursday, as the government implemented various traffic control and anti-noise measures near nationwide testing sites.

A total of 605,987 students, down about 25,200 from last year, registered to take the standardized College Scholastic Ability Test that was administered at 1,183 testing sites, according to the Ministry of Education.

Similar to the American Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the exam is considered the most crucial test of students’ academic careers and seen as the deciding factor in their choice of college and future professions.

The exam, which consists mostly of multiple-choice questions, is divided into five sections — Korean language, mathematics, English, social and natural sciences, and a second foreign language. Starting this year, all test-takers must take a separate Korean history exam during the social and natural sciences test time.

The test started at 8:30 a.m. and ran through 5:40 p.m., including lunch and breaks.

As in previous years, the government imposed various traffic control and anti-noise measures as part of its efforts to ensure that the test be executed without any problems.

Subways and trains in the capital area extended their rush hour services by two hours to help all exam-takers arrive at the test sites on time. Bus operations were also expanded during the commuting time.

The stock markets opened for trade one hour late, while government offices and enterprises in nearby areas also started work an hour later than usual to keep the roads clear for students on their way to the test centers.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but it is also common for the underclassmen to be cheering on the students taking the tests and parents flocking to Buddhist temples and churches to pray for the success of the kids taking the test.  In the past USFK conducted very limited operations of post to limit noise and traffic in order to not interfere with the national testing.

A major down side of the national testing is the many suicides that tend to happen after these tests are completed by students that do not do as well as they expected.

South Korean Principal and Teachers Charged In Pay for Grades Scheme

This article makes me wonder how many “white envelopes” are being passed to teachers in South Korea? Is this just the tip of the iceberg?:

education logo

A case involving the principal and two teachers of a private girls’ high school in Gwangju was sent to prosecutors on charges of fabricating the school records of 25 students in order to help them gain admission to good colleges, police said Wednesday.

The three educators are suspected to have either raised the test scores of 12 students in the 11th grade and 13 students in the 12th grade or lied about their extracurricular activities.

Authorities did not say exactly how many students were aware of the plot, but hinted that “several” must have known because they were called into the teacher’s office and specifically asked what details the teachers could add to their documents to make them look better.

Some parents were said to have paid each teacher about 2 million won ($1,828) for the service, said police.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but I am a bit surprised by how cheap the bribe was.

Poll Shows Most South Korean Mothers Have Their Kids Start Studying English Before Age 5

This does seem like a really young age to begin studying a foreign language:

education logo

Korean mothers have their children start learning English before they turn five on average, an age some admit is probably too early, a survey showed Tuesday.

Yoon’s English School, a company that runs a chain of English language schools across the country, asked 466 members of an online mothers’ community between May 25-29 and found that their children started learning English at an average age of 4.8.

The survey said 24.9 percent started at age 6, 21.7 percent at age 5 and 14.8 percent at age 4. It also said 5.8 percent of the mothers started teaching English to their children, when they were still in the womb.

When asked if the chosen age was appropriate, 68.5 percent said it was, but 28.1 percent thought it was too early. The survey found that the largest group of 21.7 percent said about 8 years old, the age children normally start primary school, is the right time to start English education. [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.