Education around the world

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,899
Korea
#2
I teach at a public elementary school in South Korea, and the information about South Korea is not precisely correct.

1) Winter vacation starts at the end of December, and finishes in early February. The students then have two weeks of classes before the graduation ceremony, at which time spring vacation begins and lasts until March.

2) The actual school day ends at 3 o'clock, not 4 o'clock, though it's correct that many students do stay for after school classes.

3) Although government-mandated instruction in English begins in third grade, many students receive English instruction at their public schools from first grade or even kindergarten.

4) While the website is correct that classes did occur every other Saturday, starting this school year that policy is finished.

5) Class sizes vary wildly based on the location of the school. 30 might be some sort of nation-wide average, but that's only because the most sought-after schools will often have classes up to 40, while many schools have class sizes in the lower teens or even the single digits! My wife works at another public school, and she has had taught classes in which they are only two students. At one school I know of, an entire grade level actually had zero students.

It's also worth noting the exact, ridiculous scope of Korean student's after school private education. Many students attend private classes until 10 o'clock at night, and the only reason they stop then is because classes running past midnight were so common and problematic that the Korean government legislated a cut off time. Some private schools still try to skirt this mandate.
 

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
#3
It's also worth noting the exact, ridiculous scope of Korean student's after school private education. Many students attend private classes until 10 o'clock at night, and the only reason they stop then is because classes running past midnight were so common and problematic that the Korean government legislated a cut off time. Some private schools still try to skirt this mandate.
I've seen this sort of thing in Hong Kong as well, depending on the students' socioeconomic background. In some cases it results in very sophisticated pupils, but many kids are just burned out and end up detesting education. One of the aspects to note here is that some private classes are open and interesting, but many simply drill and teach students how to pass tests. I would imagine the same applies to Korea?
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,603
Australia
#4
The Asian obsession with education has become very unhealthy. The ridiculous hours and overly structured learning environment no doubt produces excellent drones to take their place in the corporate empire, but fails to produce healthy, well balanced human beings.
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,899
Korea
#5
One of the aspects to note here is that some private classes are open and interesting, but many simply drill and teach students how to pass tests. I would imagine the same applies to Korea?
Almost without variation, private classes here are exactly as you describe: hard core test drilling. The only exception might be foreign language classes for the young, which are usually split between a Korean instructor drilling grammar and vocabulary into students, and a foreign instructor who often does some more entertaining things with the students. By the time they're in high school, though, even classes with foreign instructors at private institutions will be focused on test preparation.
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,899
Korea
#6
The Asian obsession with education has become very unhealthy. The ridiculous hours and overly structured learning environment no doubt produces excellent drones to take their place in the corporate empire, but fails to produce healthy, well balanced human beings.
Yes, which is why East Asian students have such an unfortunately high suicide rate. When you've spent your entire young life obsessively drilling for tests, if you aren't one of the lucky ones who gets into a top university, you can feel like your life is over.

Of course, this is all repeated again when it's time to get a job, and again every time it's time for promotional exams at the big corporations, and so forth. Everyone here recognizes that it's terrible, but trying to stand up to the system is like trying to stop a train by throwing yourself in front of it: the train will keep going, and you'll only suffer for your efforts.

According to [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate"]this[/ame] in fact, South Korea is second in the world for suicides! I can't even imagine what's going on in Lithuania that causes it it to beat out South Korea in this regard.
 

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
#7
It's interesting to note that Hong Kong has a lot more university seats now due to several new universities, and the students have been able to relax somewhat, but a new trend is taking place. Students from Mainland China are now challenging them for those university spots, jobs and promotions, and it's making the local students feel very threatened.
 

Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
#8
Children in the UK attend school for about six and a half to seven hours a day in state schools (in private schools the day tends to be longer).

Primary schools teach literacy, maths, science (known as the core subjects), and history, geography, religious education, art, music, and p.e.

At secondary schools they have to take English, maths and science which are compulsory, after the first three years they choose their GCSE subjects, and are allowed to drop some of the other subjects. I think they have to take at least six GCSEs, some take more. At 16, when they've done their GCSEs, they can leave school.

It used to be quite common when I was young for people to leave school at sixteen and get a job, but nowadays most stay on untio 18 and do A levels, which you need if you want to go to university, which increasing numbers do. Some don't do A levels but instead do vocational courses like plumbing, electrician, hairdressing, cooking etc.
 

Wenge

Ad Honoris
Apr 2011
10,429
Virginia
#9
The Asian obsession with education has become very unhealthy. The ridiculous hours and overly structured learning environment no doubt produces excellent drones to take their place in the corporate empire, but fails to produce healthy, well balanced human beings.
This is an excellent assessment of the Chinese education system.
 

Wenge

Ad Honoris
Apr 2011
10,429
Virginia
#10
The information about Chinese schools made me laugh. Class sizes approaching 70 are very common. The children get a 20 minute break for lunch and their normal school day runs from 7 in the morning until 9 at night.

There are few computers available to them and they are strongly encouraged not to, or should I say forbidden, to use the computer when they are at home. When a Chinese student sees an unattended computer they are drawn to it like flies to honey.

The teacher controls their entire life and even how their parents raise them. There are no outside activities that encourage anything other than rote learning. The entire system is a preposterous example of how to teach and learn.
 

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