Monday, April 6, 2015

A Sad Reality of Cram Schools

A Sad Reality of Cram Schools

What factor determines the future of your life, your dream, your talent, educational background, or financial support from your parents? If you have a guarantee of a stable job at a major company, would you be willing to sacrifice one or two years of your life doing nothing but studying in a rural area with limited freedom. It sounds crazy, however here in Korea some high school graduates who have failed to get into the university of their choice are preparing next year’s entrance exam at the cram schools. The graduates and their parents believe that it is worthy to try, then is it worthy or not?

First, most Koreans consider the college entrance exam as “the chance to make or break one’s future”, so Korean parents focus on their children’s education as a ticket of a prosperous life. They believe in “no pain, no gain”, so one or two years sacrifice for getting into top-notch university is worthy to endure. However the circumstance around the job market is changing as time goes on, so a diploma of top-tier University does not guarantee a stable job anymore, it is only a stepping stone for it. Wealth is also no guarantee of happiness, it can only give material affluence. Therefore, describing the entrance exam as “the chance to make or break one’s future” is exaggerated, and this phenomenon looks like people chase a vague dream that is a waste of their money and time.

Second, if the graduates have a specific goal for his or her future and he or she decides to go to cram school to achieve it, then the cram school can play a positive role to help students. Most cram schools in Korea adapt their regulations to a Spartan regimen, so no internet, no make-up, no televisions, and no relationships. The system can help them pursue their goal without interrupting other factors, if they agree to limit their freedom willingly. Nonetheless, the idea of isolation, limitation of someone’s freedom doesn’t seem to be appropriate.

Lastly, the popularity of the cram schools means a failure of public school system. Lots of high school graduates face this kind of problem every year, and it is a sad reality in Korea. I think it is time to change the education system, limitation of cram schools as a business, and social attitudes towards jobs, even though it needs to go through extremely hard procedures.

The popularity of cram schools means a failure of public education system, thus lots of high school graduates go to cram schools spending one or two years giving up their freedom, normal daily life, and their parents financial sacrifice. If students have specific goals to achieve, the cram schools can have a positive role to help students though. The cram school is a hot potato in Korean society, however we need to change the system together no matter how hard it is for the sake of Korea’s future.

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