Wednesday, May 1, 2013

An upcoming "free semester" for middle schoolers?

Korean middle and high school life revolves around tests and exams. To say that students fret about their midterms and finals would be like calling the Pacific Ocean a pond. Korea's new president Park Geun-hye has recently proposed a "free semester" for middle schoolers. Such a semester would mean no tests so students could focus on other things like career or vocational options. The idea's modeled on Ireland's "free semester" program and it's slated to begin in 2016.

I've included a few articles and editorials about the idea below because it represents a change in thinking for Korean schools. Several writers and policy makers have been debating merits of the "free semester." They've been wondering if it can work in Korea or if it will backfire and drive parents to spend more on their childrens' private schooling. I've been wondering about the idea myself, for it has plenty of potential, yet implementing it could prove tricky.

Read and enjoy. More to come later!

Joongang Daily: "Students discuss 'free class' plan"

"Middle school students to get a test-free semester"

"A little room to breathe"

"Paved with good intentions"

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