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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

The New Sheriff in Town

For the school system, at least, there’s a new sheriff in town. Kwak No-Hyun is the new superintendant in the Seoul Metropolitan area, which has some influence over the rest of the nation.

The Korea Times has an article with Kwak’s vision for education in korea and it doesn’t include corporal punishment.  That’s one of the few things the educational system has announced in the recent past that makes tremendous sense. Kwak’s own feelings about it are clear:

“We don’t beat adults. We don’t even beat criminals. But we have this diehard, fixated notion that we should not spare the rod for children as otherwise they will be unruly. We must change this. They also have their rights. We must declare that corporal punishment should be banned at school. There are already some schools free of corporal punishment. My determination to do this is very strong.”

I’ve seen my share of kids who have been smacked in the schools, including my own step-son. He has been beaten in his high school for having dyed his hair brown, having his hair too long, and even coming back to school too late after going to the hair shop to get it cut (being at school from 8am to 10pm makes it difficult to get it donw other than lunch time.)  My step-son, No DongHyun says his only regret in the new regulations on punishment is that they’ll come too late – he’ll graduate high school in the spring.

The article also mentions a few things about Kwak’s desire for students to escape the “vicious cyle” of competition for higher grades and the cram schools that cater to that national craze. I have less faith anything worthwhile will happen in that arena.

Regarding English education, Kwak will “setup a task force to overhaul current policies  and draw up measures to provide more efficient English tuition,” which is political speak for “I have no idea how to fix this but I’ll feed it to some bureaucrats who will jack things up even worse.”

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