Why are Korean parents trying to make their children study in the USA?

Published 19 May 2017

Why are Korean parents trying to make their children study in the USA? Despite substantial financial burden and the risks of a broken family, a growing number of Korean parents are sending their children to the USA to study. The reason is often linked to the popularity of English. But it can also be blamed on dissatisfaction with the Korean education system. A recent report by the International Institute for Management and Development confirmed Koreans` disillusion with the country’s education system. It showed that Korea’s competitiveness ranking in education among OECD countries fell from 40 to 42. The report also indicates that Korean government spends less on education compared to other OECD countries, whereas United States spending is one of the highest in the world. Many Korean parents and their children feel that the Korean education system and the US education systems are very different in many ways, and as a result, a growing number of students are heading to USA to satisfy their demands for english training and to receive a better education. There are three important differences between the two educational systems that cause Korean parents to send their children to USA to study. They are the Secondary Education system, the teaching methods, and the educational policies.

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To begin, Korean Secondary Education system is not systematic in contrast to the American. American Secondary education system is sectioned into Middle school, Junior high school, and Senior high school, and it is well-known for the best educational system in the world. Most American middle and high schools have counselors in order to teach students individually, and they regard attendance as the most important thing for grades or credits. At middle or high schools American students are involved in many extracurricular activities like community services while they still take general courses like English, math, and so on. It is clearly advantageous to the American students for final grades as they can also learn various knowledge of a human nature.

But in Korea, middle and high schools are not well-organized. Korean schools don’t have any kind of counseling programs for students and there are no extracurricular activities. Most Korean middle and high schools force the crammed syllabus for courses on their students so that they can get admission into a prestigious school. For example, Korean middle and high schools push their students to get good grades in exams, and students must learn required courses against their will. Moreover, attendance is not necessary for students who rank high in classes and Korean teachers overlook the absentees because it is not given much importance while calculating total grades or credits. Students don’t feel connected to their classmates and as a result Koreans students are easily distracted from their goals that they want to achieve and they loose the zeal to learn as well. This is one of reasons that many Korean parents are sending their children to the USA for better education.

Korea is far behind in the teaching methods it adopted. Korean teaching method is Spartan, but not efficient, whereas American teaching method is effective and interesting. The teaching method of Korea does not encourage innovative thinking and interest in studies while students in the United States are motivated to study through various activities like individual presentations and team projects. Consequently, Korean children at elementary school level go overseas because they want to learn English and after middle school level, they go overseas because they don’t want to study under the Korean educational system. In addition, many students in Korea complain about their ESL classes at middle and high schools as they are rarely taught in English in the class. In USA, only English is the only spoken language during lecture even though there are many foreign students who don’t speak English at all. Thus, there is a big gap between the Korean and American teaching methods.

Korean educational policy is absolutely focused on 4 year college like universities, but American educational policy is based on diverse abilities. Many educators in Korea think that dreams come true from excellent school careers. Students in Korea usually get a lot of stress because they are always busy catching up with the class schedules, all of which are solely targeted at the university entrance exams. Students, especially those who attend high school, can’t have any opportunities to spread their dreams out without entering 4 year college or universities.

In the USA, there are many ways to succeed without certificates of the completion of 4 years colleges or university courses. Some youngsters or teenagers in the USA go to technical schools or get earlier in 3D occupations, which stands for `Difficult, Dirty, and Dangerous` in order to find what they show an aptitude for. Unlike Korean students, school diploma is useful but not mandatory for American students to accomplish goals.

Studying in the USA is not easy, and there can be many problems. If students can’t adapt to the foreign culture, it can hinder their learning capabilities. Being away from family or friends also adds to the problems. In addition, students who begin studying in the USA at an early age sometimes have a difficult time returning to Korean society. Nevertheless, many Korean students still seek to study in the USA because Korean parents, in particular, think that the American education system is a well developed and it is worth to send their children.

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