Students Paint Bleak Picture of Korean Schools

Korean schoolchildren believe academic performance and educational background are the best ways to achieve their dreams, a survey found. But they are still taught at school using rote memorization rather than being challenged to think.

According to the survey by Media Research for the Chosun Ilbo in October, 36.3 percent of schoolchildren felt good grades and prestigious university degrees are the most important elements in achieving their dreams, while 24.7 percent cited creativity and 17 percent a good personality. Only 8 percent said their own will and effort are most important.

Students still learn by rote. When asked how many of their daily lessons involved discussions and presentations, 67.3 percent said none or less than 10 percent.

Students are also passive in class. When asked how many questions they ask in class, 42 percent said never. Also, 45.4 percent said they had been scolded or ignored by teachers for asking questions or for giving opinions that differed from those of their instructors.

Parents are dissatisfied with the education in schools. Some 70 percent of parents surveyed did not believe the country's education system reflects the unique characteristics and individuality of each student. They said the main problems are uniform teaching methods and the incompetence of teachers (34.9 percent), a text-book oriented curriculum (26.6 percent) and priority given to good students (14.7 percent).

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 12, 2011 07:33 KST