Education: What the Finnish and Koreans Are Doing Right

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Rank: Orangutan | 290

It is no news that the American educational system, in general, has been in trouble. The average American student is known to show poorer test score, higher dropout rate, and lower literacy rate compared to the global benchmark. Recently, Louis Menand wrote an opinion on the New Yorker regarding abolishing homework in schools. Does homework give kids with rich and smart parents an unfair advantage by receiving help from them? The answer to that question really depends on which direction the American people want their educational system to go as Menand points out:

Like a lot of debates about education, what Cooper calls "the battle over homework" is not really about how to make schools better. It's about what people want schools to do.

The article makes reference to a report called "The Learning Curve" published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (a research arm of the company that publishes The Economist) and Pearson. The report addresses the effectiveness of different educational systems around the world by compiling a wide range of data. Unsurprisingly, the United States performed poorly in the 17th place, barely beating countries like Hungary, Slovakia, and Russia. You can see the full report here.

I found it interesting that the two best educational systems in the world belong to Finland and South Korea, despite the two systems being drastically different in their approach to education. The Finnish education system is all about having the best average students with the same opportunities. Its egalitarian approach shows in many aspects of its educational system.

  1. The Finnish government sponsors everyone's education from elementary school to college, even for foreigners.
  2. The education system has an exceptionally strong support system to give special care to those who are underperforming. (counselors, special care teachers, etc.) The Finnish leave no child behind.
  3. The schools virtually give no homeworks for concerns similar to the ones raised in the New Yorker article.
  4. Kids start school later and stay there shorter than those in most developed countries.

In Finland, education is the foundation of equality and social justice. However, this sometimes leads to exceptionally gifted students being left with unfulfilled potentials.

On the other hand, the Korean system has the polar opposite mentality. (Caveat: I went to school in Korea until 10th grade.) Education is precisely the means to advancement in the social hierarchy. In fact, it is quite similar to the mindset of Wall Street. It weeds out the weak by taking kids to the grindstone day in and day out and, sometimes literally, killing them until only the fittest survive.

  1. The Koreans take education very, very seriously. Most high school students preparing for college entrance exams study 25 hours a day while their mothers pray during exams.
  2. While the public school system is somewhat unimpressive, there is a massive private sector (and they make $$$) that tutors students after school. Everyone is on their own. Parents work two jobs to pay for tutors and students are extremely eager to get ahead.
  3. The purpose of education is results. In other words, rote learning and exam scores.

This brutally capitalistic approach to education leaves a bloody trail. The OECD reports that Korean students are the unhappiest among those in developed countries. I personally know that my friends in Korea went through a series of depressing mental breakdowns and paranoia throughout high school because of pressure to place well for college. However, intelligence is highly respected and you get rewarded for ambition -- which I think is not true to the same extent in the US.

So again, what do the American people want their education system to be? The Finnish ideals seem lofty, but will they ever be exceptionally good at anything? The Korean system appears cruel and suffocating; but don't you have to learn to postpone pleasure and make sacrifices to become successful? Like.. breaking into Wall Street? What is the American way when it comes to education?

Links:
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/12/17/1...
http://thelearningcurve.pearson.com/

Comments (66)

Dec 25, 2012

Some interesting commentary from Thomas L. Friedman about the relationship between natural resources and education (referencing Finland and South Korea): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/f...

Dec 25, 2012

.

Dec 25, 2012
olafenizer:

Some interesting commentary from Thomas L. Friedman about the relationship between natural resources and education (referencing Finland and South Korea): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/f...
Interesting. I know that Korean students for sure are reminded often of how resource-less their country is.

Dec 26, 2012

read about the Korean system a while ago in the Economist, in my opinion it is kind of fucked up and just too much pressure for those kids.. http://www.economist.com/node/21541713

Dec 26, 2012

When you control for demographics, Americans do extremely well compared to the rest of the world.

Dec 26, 2012
holla_back:

When you control for demographics, Americans do extremely well compared to the rest of the world.

You mean the white people do? Sources? I'd be interested in finding out.

Dec 26, 2012
Gangnam Banker:
holla_back:

When you control for demographics, Americans do extremely well compared to the rest of the world.

You mean the white people do? Sources? I'd be interested in finding out.

In 2009's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Asian Americans are bested only by students from Shanghai, while American whites come in at 7th worldwide -- Finland is the only Western country that beat us.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011004.pdf

Dec 26, 2012

So did u study 25 hours a day?

Dec 26, 2012

What I'd be interested to find out is which system fosters the best "soft skills". I know it seems silly, but if you grow up in a cut-throat system like South Korea's and transplant yourself into a social setting in a different country, there's bound to be some friction.

Dec 26, 2012

I don't think the United States should be compared with homogeneous societies like S. Korea and Finland when it comes to educational, economic, or governmental concerns.

Dec 26, 2012

I'd support the Korean system since it grinds kids to the bone. With that said, we have a ton of fuck ups in the American system. As mentioned above, when you control for that we do a lot better. Let Korea take some of the morons we have and see how well they do.

Dec 26, 2012
TNA:

I'd support the Korean system since it grinds kids to the bone. With that said, we have a ton of fuck ups in the American system. As mentioned above, when you control for that we do a lot better. Let Korea take some of the morons we have and see how well they do.

Korean education system turns students are turned into rote memorizing robots. Might be successful on paper, but I've met so many kids who are only good at following directions.

Feb 28, 2013
kidflash:
TNA:

I'd support the Korean system since it grinds kids to the bone. With that said, we have a ton of fuck ups in the American system. As mentioned above, when you control for that we do a lot better. Let Korea take some of the morons we have and see how well they do.

Korean education system turns students are turned into rote memorizing robots. Might be successful on paper, but I've met so many kids who are only good at following directions.

I agree. It's ironic how every educated and well-to-do Korean families are so desperate to send their kids to US schools when Korea supposedly has a much better education system. I, for one, know that I'm damn well better off by having attended an American prep school. HOWEVER, when we are talking about the education system on the whole, I think the AVERAGE American students could learn a thing or two from their Korean peers. The biggest culture shock when I first came here was just how "out of it" some of the "average" kids were (even at a private school). Yeah, there are mediocre kids from low income backgrounds in Korea but they don't lag behind as much as the American ones in the same position. The US is just such a polarized country in which the most brilliant kids and the slowest kids in the world coexist (in a segregated manner).

Dec 26, 2012
TNA:

I'd support the Korean system since it grinds kids to the bone.

you sure are one tough armchair general.

I was learning organic chemistry, Latin, Spanish, calc, and constitution in 6th grade private school. You know what the payoff was? Total social awkwardness and reading induced semi-blindness. On top of that, we ran several miles a day, and the kids got their asses kicked playing soccer with the adults. Given I came from a family of refugees from German death camps and Russian misery, preparation for the Marines from day one seemed kinda normal. Do you have any idea how long it took me and a few others to integrate? I rebelled HARD CORE, and any kid will. My cousin is a shrink: do you have any idea how many people in finance are suicidal or completely insane? That's not excellence, that's a waste.

Push kids to success but don't breed psychos. There's more to life.

That's just my opinion, even though my 'normal' is somewhat skewed.

Dec 26, 2012

I wonder how the US stacks up if you take out the outliers (black and mexican kids).

    • 1
Dec 26, 2012
ltohang:

I wonder how the US stacks up if you take out the outliers (black and mexican kids).

Daaaamn.

Best Response
Dec 26, 2012
ltohang:

I wonder how the US stacks up if you take out the outliers (black and mexican kids).

Buddy, you cant say things like that out loud. In America you can think it, but have to use words like "disadvantaged" "ethnic" and "Democrat".

Dec 26, 2012
TNA:
ltohang:

I wonder how the US stacks up if you take out the outliers (black and mexican kids).

Buddy, you cant say things like that out loud. In America you can think it, but have to use words like "disadvantaged" "ethnic" and "Democrat".

"disenfranchised youths" is also starting to become a more popular euphemism among leftists

Jan 28, 2013

Lmfao, worry bout yourself

Dec 26, 2012
ltohang:

I wonder how the US stacks up if you take out the outliers (black and mexican kids).

I think that is what a lot of the folks were thinking when they clicked on this article, but didn't have the balls to ask. Well done.

Dec 27, 2012

.....................................

Dec 27, 2012
ltohang:

I wonder how the US stacks up if you take out the outliers (black and mexican kids).

Obviously, because this is WSO, someone who comments on here has to be extremely intelligent... As well as the guys who are hi-5ing it... The UC schools tried your approach, and these are their results:

UCBerk: Total number of Undergraduates: 25,151; African American/Black: 4%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 43%; Hispanic: 12%; White: 32%; International: 3%

UCLA: Total number of Undergraduates: 26,536; African American/Black: 1%; American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 38%; Hispanic: 15%; White: 34%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 5%; International: 4%

UCSD: Total number of Undergraduates: 23,143; African-American: 2%; Asian: 44%; Mexican-American: 10%; Filipino: 4%; Latino/Other Spanish: 3%; Native-American: 0%; Caucasian: 26%; Race/Ethnicity Unknown: 10%

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/04/racial-br...

Then I figured, what was the population breakdown:
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html
Whites are 74%
Hispanic/Latinos are 38% (can be of any race)
Asians are 13.6%
Blacks are 6.6%

Obviously we can delve deeper into stats, but a quick eyeball says that when you did take Black Kids and Latino( well all Latinos are Mexican to you--but this is WSO, so you just be intelligent) out of the equation looks like the White American kids (since you assume that white kids are also producing and are really also the future of America) aren't quite producing as well as the people who drafted that legislation had hoped... Took me about 5 mins to do this....

Dec 26, 2012

Interesting that two of the best systems are completely different from one another...it might lead one to believe that the method of teaching has little to do with educational outcomes. It is also interesting that anecdotally both finnish and korean immigrant students tend to also do well in American schools.

Dec 26, 2012

looks like we need to hire more koreans

Dec 26, 2012

looks like we need to hire more koreans

Dec 26, 2012

We can take some lessons from other systems, but there's more to success than good grades. There's also more to life than career success. The US tries for a pretty balanced approach.

And hey, if some country pulls ahead on one facet of their civilization, more power to them. Perhaps it would be wise for the US to promote more science etc, and if that's the case an adjustment will be made. But I don't think hamstringing the best or inducing a constant panic attack is going to pay long term dividends.

Dec 26, 2012

The Korean system is not a fr* cking innovation. We have the same system here in the US, its called quality parenting. Moronic parents raise, moronic kids, good parents that push their kids raise high achieiving (by arbritrary standards) kids.

The thing is these characteristics just happen to concentrated in demographic groups where the lowest acheiving groups/sh* ttiest parenting groups happen to be the majority.

No amount of money is going to change this. You could throw a trillion dollars a year at the problem, f* cktards will still procreate and raise more f* cktards. They will outnumber the semi-achievers and weigh down society both on a pecunirary and cognitive basis.

That being said, happy new years!!!!!

Dec 26, 2012

As someone currently completing his final year of secondary education in the US, I'd say that a transition towards a more Korean-esque system is definitely necessary. In my experience at a fairly large suburban public school, far too little pressure is put on kids to succeed, especially with those of "average" intelligence. As most students have a) teachers who let them get away with a sh*tload and b) parents who don't care about them, no real motivating factors exist for them to do better in school.

It used to be that kids had to do well in HS in order for them to attend university, and that alone would serve as an incentive for solid academic performance. That is certainly not the case anymore. With the expansion of higher education in the US, virtually any white kid with a 2.8 GPA and a 1500 on the SAT can get into a state school of their choice. Because this task is so simple, most kids just put in the effort necessary to attain these stats (i.e. none). For an average student, there is no reason not to follow this path, as the thinking seems to be along the lines of "If I can't get into an Ivy or target, why bother?".

Unless a system of incentives is developed in the US where students are forced to do well by both teachers and parents or face some serious consequences (e.g. not attending college), I do not foresee anything changing in secondary education anytime soon.

tl;dr Most kids don't care about school and have no reason to. In order for sh*t to change, they need to be forced to care.

Dec 26, 2012
ghosterizer:

. . . virtually any white kid with a 2.8 GPA and a 1500 on the SAT can get into a state school of their choice.

wat

Dec 26, 2012
holla_back:
ghosterizer:

. . . virtually any white kid with a 2.8 GPA and a 1500 on the SAT can get into a state school of their choice.

wat

Pretty much true, except for UVA, Michigan, UC schools and maybe UT. If in state then it's certainly possible

Dec 26, 2012

The world needs ditchdiggers too

Dec 26, 2012

The last thing we want is a system like Korea's.

You guys should understand that everyone is born with a certain amount of academic skill. Not everyone is great at studying, but they could be really good and talented at other stuff. Forcing kids to study meaningless stuff for 15 hours a day... that's a terrible idea.

As a student at one of HYP, I'm quite proud of the abilities of our country's top students. But the great thing is... you DON'T have to go to a top us-news ranked school to succeed in this country. It's not like in some asian countries where your meaningless test scores from high school dictate your future opportunities.

Things will be simply dictated by supply and demand. Right now there are kids that don't care much about school, go to state school party it up. And maybe their family is decently well off, they have connections, they can get a decent job, even succeed if they acquire work ethic later in life.

I don't see how turning this kid into a failing study robot is any better for the country. Cramming pointless info has huge diminishing returns.

Of course, I DO wish that the rampant anti-intellectualism that infects the general population could be reduced, but that isn't solved by a system like Korea's.

    • 1
Dec 26, 2012
cauchymonkey:

You guys should understand that everyone is born with a certain amount of academic skill. .

Alright, ya this is total b.s. Unless you are born with an eidetic memory or the genes to become an athletic stud (ex. Michael Phelps, Lebron James, Wilt Chamberlain, etc.) you aren't born to be good at anything. It's a function of nurturing at a young age. If you teach a kid to like reading, math, science, music, etc. at an EXTREMELY young age that kid will grow to develop certain skillsets and be better than their peers at major points in their lives. For example the best gymnasts and swimmers started around 5 - 8, the types of kids that end up at ivies already developed some amount of worth ethic and cognitive competence prior to high school, the person that ends up winning a nobel prize in math learned to love it as a child, etc.

That's a function of quality parenting. Its okay for a kid to good off such as playing video games and watch TV for an extended period of time but if that kid doesn't have an internal drive to learn a marketable skill (this can be anything from math to a sport) from a young age someone else has to force it - a.k.a. the parent.

Dec 26, 2012
prudentinvestor:
cauchymonkey:

You guys should understand that everyone is born with a certain amount of academic skill. .

Alright, ya this is total b.s. Unless you are born with an eidetic memory or the genes to become an athletic stud (ex. Michael Phelps, Lebron James, Wilt Chamberlain, etc.) you aren't born to be good at anything. It's a function of nurturing at a young age. If you teach a kid to like reading, math, science, music, etc. at an EXTREMELY young age that kid will grow to develop certain skillsets and be better than their peers at major points in their lives. For example the best gymnasts and swimmers started around 5 - 8, the types of kids that end up at ivies already developed some amount of worth ethic and cognitive competence prior to high school, the person that ends up winning a nobel prize in math learned to love it as a child, etc.

That's a function of quality parenting. Its okay for a kid to good off such as playing video games and watch TV for an extended period of time but if that kid doesn't have an internal drive to learn a marketable skill (this can be anything from math to a sport) from a young age someone else has to force it - a.k.a. the parent.

Do you actually believe that a person's intelligence is due purely to their environment? Are you serious?

Dec 26, 2012

Great quote from the article:

"Min-sung says he doesn't particularly want to go to university, but he feels "social pressure" to do so."

Not everyone NEEDS to go to college, or work on Wall Street, or study beyond a certain level at all. There are people who genuinely want to be mechanics, secretaries, sports agents, etc and who are good at it. The mentality that everyone needs to be educated is severely flawed, resulting in a bunch of diploma mills and for-profit schools charging exorbitant tuition and admitting anyone who can spell their own name (after three tries). People who attend these schools think they're hotshots with "prestigious college degrees" and that doing blue collar work is beneath them, when blue collar work, like nursing, is needed.

kyleyboy:
holla_back:
ghosterizer:

. . . virtually any white kid with a 2.8 GPA and a 1500 on the SAT can get into a state school of their choice.

wat

Pretty much true, except for UVA, Michigan, UC schools and maybe UT. If in state then it's certainly possible

Don't forget William & Mary. Not all UC's are created equal, though -- San Diego, Irvine, et al aren't quite at UCLA's or Berkeley's level.

Dec 26, 2012

I'm willing to bet if you work/want to work on wall street your general analytic abilities are superior than the masses.

haha, I guarantee you that there are plenty of idiots with below average abilities who want to work on Wall Street.

Dec 26, 2012
m56:

I'm willing to bet if you work/want to work on wall street your general analytic abilities are superior than the masses.

haha, I guarantee you that there are plenty of idiots with below average abilities who want to work on Wall Street.

I concur, but how many of them make it to the street?

Arguably your pedigree matters a little more than your competence but you aren't going to make it to the street as a moron.

Dec 26, 2012

I concur, but how many of them make it to the street?

Arguably your pedigree matters a little more than your competence but you aren't going to make it to the street as a moron.

That's true, though there are certainly some exceptions.

Right now, it looks like a lot of kids are applying to BBs not because they like finance, but because they have the same mindset as the Korean students in the Economist article -- it's "prestigious" and they get "a lot of money" and "chicks, man." These aren't dumb people, but their skills could be put to a much better use in areas they actually like.

Dec 26, 2012
m56:

I concur, but how many of them make it to the street?

Arguably your pedigree matters a little more than your competence but you aren't going to make it to the street as a moron.

That's true, though there are certainly some exceptions, as in all areas of life.

Right now, it looks like a lot of kids are applying to BBs not because they like finance, but because they have the same mindset as the Korean students in the Economist article -- it's "prestigious" and they get "a lot of money" and "chicks, man." These aren't dumb people, but their skills could be put to a much better use in areas they actually like.

Dec 26, 2012
m56:
m56:

I concur, but how many of them make it to the street?

Arguably your pedigree matters a little more than your competence but you aren't going to make it to the street as a moron.

That's true, though there are certainly some exceptions, as in all areas of life.

Right now, it looks like a lot of kids are applying to BBs not because they like finance, but because they have the same mindset as the students in the Economist article -- it's "prestigious" and they get "a lot of money." These aren't dumb people, but their skills could be put to a much better use in areas they actually like.

Dec 26, 2012

No one wants a system like the Koreans. Robots.

Dec 26, 2012

I admire the Korean education system because of it's emphasis on meritocracy and competition. Both of them important tenants of free markets and is something all monkeys on this site can relate to. That being said I don't think it is right for everyone and I think that there is going to be a fundamental shift in how we Americans see high school education. Instead of it being, education for education's sake, I think that we should encourage those students who have demonstrated poor school performance and have no real desire to succeed in an academic setting to divert their time and energy to learn more practical job skills that would really benefit them for their futures as opposed to forcing them to slug it out for another 4 (or 7) years in college learning something that is quite useless in real life, while also taking out government loans which might never get paid off.

Instead of going to college or JC they should go to vocational schools and learn trade skills (plumbing, mechanics, nurses, oil drilling etc) to get jobs and make money. There are tons of lower-end jobs that don't require college educations that are having a hard time being filled right now, we need to accommodate these structural changes in the demand for labor.

    • 1
Dec 27, 2012

There are some policies the US could implement to improve our standing.

1. Close underperforming public universities. There are quite a few in the Deep South that are drop-out factories.
2. Do not give government student loans or grants to students who perform under a certain benchmark (use GPA/SAT, whatever) and make it illegal for the private sector to do the same. Students who really want to go to college will need to take a year off to prove that they're capable of doing college-level work.
3. Open more trade schools and invest heavily in community colleges.

What we have here is an overabundance of kids going to college or on the college route. Most of these kids will end up dropping out or getting a degree six years in. As usual, this is due to government screwing up by extending student grants or loans to everyone regardless of their ability to perform once they get to college. Many of these kids graduate with massive student loans and end up working the same jobs they could have gotten without a degree. Plus, they siphon away grant money from more deserving students. What we need is a way to weed out the kids who aren't college-worthy and send them to trade schools or no school at all so they can get practical, useful educations and go straight to work. That is how the Korean model works. Do well early on and you could end up in an Ivy school and be working in a corporate boardroom at age 40. Fuck up and you'll be fixing cars or toilets (though the latter pays pretty well). However, we would still retain the element of hard work and entrepreneurship -- our futures would not be tied to the university we attend like it is in S. Korea.

Basically, weed out kids who shouldn't be going to college anyway, offer more practical education, and remove government and private support from students who don't meet certain criteria. Ingrain in everyone's head that COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE AND NOT EVERYONE DESERVES TO GO.

Dec 27, 2012
loldanielol:

There are some policies the US could implement to improve our standing.

1. Close underperforming public universities. There are quite a few in the Deep South that are drop-out factories.
2. Do not give government student loans or grants to students who perform under a certain benchmark (use GPA/SAT, whatever) and make it illegal for the private sector to do the same. Students who really want to go to college will need to take a year off to prove that they're capable of doing college-level work.
3. Open more trade schools and invest heavily in community colleges.

What we have here is an overabundance of kids going to college or on the college route. Most of these kids will end up dropping out or getting a degree six years in. As usual, this is due to government screwing up by extending student grants or loans to everyone regardless of their ability to perform once they get to college. Many of these kids graduate with massive student loans and end up working the same jobs they could have gotten without a degree. Plus, they siphon away grant money from more deserving students. What we need is a way to weed out the kids who aren't college-worthy and send them to trade schools or no school at all so they can get practical, useful educations and go straight to work. That is how the Korean model works. Do well early on and you could end up in an Ivy school and be working in a corporate boardroom at age 40. Fuck up and you'll be fixing cars or toilets (though the latter pays pretty well). However, we would still retain the element of hard work and entrepreneurship -- our futures would not be tied to the university we attend like it is in S. Korea.

Basically, weed out kids who shouldn't be going to college anyway, offer more practical education, and remove government and private support from students who don't meet certain criteria. Ingrain in everyone's head that COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE AND NOT EVERYONE DESERVES TO GO.

Just a minor point: A student does have to meet a certain requirement to CONTINUE to receive federal aid. It might vary school to school, but it has been my understanding that a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.0, and must complete 3/4 of their attempted credits. Miss either of those and federal loans are taken away.

Idk, just sayin'.

"That dude is so haole, he don't even have any breath left."

Dec 27, 2012

Kids never know what's good for them when they're young. I know lots of people who regret they didn't pursue an activity further while they were younger or wished their parents pushed them harder.

Dec 27, 2012

I'm Korean. And Korean education system is just. F'ed UP. No creativity, no critical thinking is involved but is only just memorization. I know that WSO shits on lib arts, but one of the focuses of a liberal arts education is to foster critical thinking. In Korea, there is none. These kids may be good in math in HS, but there are no famous mathematicians from Korea. These kids may memorize poems, but I've actually seen an essay by some Korean dude who went to Seoul national Univ (the best of the best in korea) who wrote that Animal Farm was about animal cruelty. While the US education has a lot of flaws, what it does right is the discussions we have in classrooms, in a more or less horizontal fashion with the teachers rather than a top-down, authoritarian teaching methods where teachers actually still beat teh crap out of students. My family immigrated to the US because of education, and there are tens of thousands who do every year because of education from Korea.

Dec 27, 2012
jamesdakrn:

I'm Korean. And Korean education system is just. F'ed UP. No creativity, no critical thinking is involved but is only just memorization. I know that WSO shits on lib arts, but one of the focuses of a liberal arts education is to foster critical thinking. In Korea, there is none. These kids may be good in math in HS, but there are no famous mathematicians from Korea. These kids may memorize poems, but I've actually seen an essay by some Korean dude who went to Seoul national Univ (the best of the best in korea) who wrote that Animal Farm was about animal cruelty. While the US education has a lot of flaws, what it does right is the discussions we have in classrooms, in a more or less horizontal fashion with the teachers rather than a top-down, authoritarian teaching methods where teachers actually still beat teh crap out of students. My family immigrated to the US because of education, and there are tens of thousands who do every year because of education from Korea.

I had a really good Korean professor in graduate school. His opinion was the same as yours. He asked me, how many Koreans have won the nobel prize, none in science. They are still mostly awarded to research done in the western world. That type of rigorous training is good in producing mediocre engineers/scientists who can take instructions, but not who can innovate the next generation technology or solve higher level problems.

However, looking at the education system as a whole...no clue how to fix that. My gf is a community college professor and holy shit, some of those kids are seriously lacking. For example, if you give them y=2x and you give them x, they can solve for y...but if you give them y and ask them to solve for x, they CAN'T DO IT.

Also, many of them really don't make an effort and were probably forced to go there (don't turn in any assignments, continually fail or miss exams). Really a waste of resources for financial aid. I don't know how far back you'd have to go in those kids' lives to change their outlook on school. Maybe a few years down the road, they will get on their feet, but forcing an 18/19 year old kid to go to college who is not ready is a waste.

Dec 27, 2012

Also one problem most koreans dont realize is taht most kids choose their major/school from their test score matches. You apply directly to a major and its really hard to change. I mean, what 19 year old knows what they want to do in life? Did you really want to do finance when you were 18? hell did you even know what Ibanks do at that age? I would venture a guess to say most people that work in finance didnt when they were 18-19 year olds. This insanity in the classrooms, lack of creativity, press-molded students reflect a larger part of Korean society, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the OECD.

Dec 27, 2012

1) Rich families sent their children to college for higher learning. Not "required" or even especially valuable for a career, just an opportunity to learn more philosophy, get better at art, etc.

2) Middle-class/poor families assumed a college education would get their children into "the club" with the other successful people and pushed them in. It worked.

3) More and more people started viewing a college degree as a way to a better life. Colleges supported this viewpoint because it increased enrollment.

4) Employers started using degrees as a screening mechanism for jobs that don't require one, which then forced students to go to college to get a job.

College went from a luxury good, to a consumer good, to a commodity. MBAs are there and other master's are getting there. Ph. Ds will be next. Completely stupid, but it's not shocking given America's "me too" mindset. All of this could have been avoided if people just left college alone, like luxury cars, giant boats, and mansions...oh wait, it's happened there too.

Dec 27, 2012
whysopoor:

1) Rich families sent their children to college for higher learning. Not "required" or even especially valuable for a career, just an opportunity to learn more philosophy, get better at art, etc.

2) Middle-class/poor families assumed a college education would get their children into "the club" with the other successful people and pushed them in. It worked.

3) More and more people started viewing a college degree as a way to a better life. Colleges supported this viewpoint because it increased enrollment.

4) Employers started using degrees as a screening mechanism for jobs that don't require one, which then forced students to go to college to get a job.

College went from a luxury good, to a consumer good, to a commodity. MBAs are there and other master's are getting there. Ph. Ds will be next. Completely stupid, but it's not shocking given America's "me too" mindset. All of this could have been avoided if people just left college alone, like luxury cars, giant boats, and mansions...oh wait, it's happened there too.

I'd say PhD is there. Doing post doc for 3-5 years at 40k/year is not uncommon while you search for an academic or even industry job.

Jan 2, 2013
P0.06-FML:
whysopoor:

1) Rich families sent their children to college for higher learning. Not "required" or even especially valuable for a career, just an opportunity to learn more philosophy, get better at art, etc.

2) Middle-class/poor families assumed a college education would get their children into "the club" with the other successful people and pushed them in. It worked.

3) More and more people started viewing a college degree as a way to a better life. Colleges supported this viewpoint because it increased enrollment.

4) Employers started using degrees as a screening mechanism for jobs that don't require one, which then forced students to go to college to get a job.

College went from a luxury good, to a consumer good, to a commodity. MBAs are there and other master's are getting there. Ph. Ds will be next. Completely stupid, but it's not shocking given America's "me too" mindset. All of this could have been avoided if people just left college alone, like luxury cars, giant boats, and mansions...oh wait, it's happened there too.

I'd say PhD is there. Doing post doc for 3-5 years at 40k/year is not uncommon while you search for an academic or even industry job.

Agree 100%.

Dec 28, 2012

Dead on. Supply has increased, thus diluting the value from luxury to commodity. MBA's are turning into the minimum to be a retail chain district manager now.

PE is the new black.

Dec 27, 2012

Finnish and Korean kids still dream of going to Harvard, bro.

Dec 29, 2012
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Jan 14, 2013

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