SEOUL, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) – President Park Geun-hye called for fundamental changes in the way English is taught in South Korea on Thursday, saying families spend too much money on English education, as the current system requires all students to learn high levels of the language.
Park made the remark during a joint policy briefing by the Education and Culture ministries, saying that about one-third of the money families spend for private tutoring for their children goes to English education, and the government should help lessen the burden.
“I believe that we need to have a fundamental solution to the educational reality where excessive English education is required of students,” Park said. “Some students want to learn English proficiently, while for some others, basic levels are enough. If all people are forced to learn difficult levels, it leads to an increase in private tutoring expenses.”
South Korean parents are known for their zeal in spending money to gt their children to learn English from very early ages in a nation where better English proficiency, including higher English language test scores, are considered to be linked to better jobs.
Park said that current school curricula should be revised in a way that makes it easier for students to learn and understand. She said the current curricula and textbooks contain so much difficult information that students are forced to rely on private tutoring.
She also called for the development of an unbiased history textbook.
“It is very important to help children have correct views of the nation and balanced perceptions of history through history education,” Park said. “This is not just about learning history, it is also related to expanding social integration and a sense of joint community.”
History textbooks have been a hot issue in South Korea following the publication of a right-wing textbook for high school students. Liberals have urged schools to not adopt the text, saying that it contains too much conservative bias. But conservatives have claimed that the other textbooks are left-leaning.