Thursday, August 15, 2013
Via HBL comes a fascinating Wall Street
Journal article about South Korea's hugely successful "shadow educational system", which it calls "as
close to a pure meritocracy as it can be". Aside from some impressive national
educational statistics and the millions some of its "rock-star teachers" make,
what impressed me most favorably about the system was that it is quite open to
Private tutors are also more likely to experiment with new technology and nontraditional forms of teaching. In a 2009 book on the subject, University of Hong Kong professor Mark Bray urged officials to pay attention to the strengths of the shadow markets, in addition to the perils. "Policy makers and planners should…ask why parents are willing to invest considerable sums of money to supplement the schooling received from the mainstream," he writes. "At least in some cultures, the private tutors are more adventurous and client-oriented."The tutors take full advantage of modern communications, placing lectures online and keeping parents apprised of progress through frequent text messages, for example.
The whole thing is worth reading, although I do have a quibble with a rock-star teacher quoted within. "The only solution is to improve public education," the millionaire teacher says. (In his defense, he is not an economics instructor.) This quote is amusing, coming as it does from the same article as this:
Under this system, students essentially go to school twice--once during the day and then again at night at the tutoring academies. It is a relentless grind.Improve? Or abolish? Imagine what these tutors could accomplish with students who hadn't had to waste an entire day in government schools before attending class.