South Korea’s Education Success Has a Dark Side

South Korea has been hugely successful in producing high education outcomes. It ranks at the top of international test results. Education has been a driving force behind South Korea’s rapid economic development over the past half century, creating one of the world’s most educated workforces. However, it is finding a dark side to its obsession with education and the Government is trying to cool its “education fever”.

South Korean children spend long hours out of school in cram classes which is affecting their attitude to learning as well as their happiness and development. There is an epidemic of myopia amongst young people that presages major health problems in the future. Expenditure on cram schools has increased household debt and fertility rates have declined as a result. There is a huge over-supply of university graduates, and many cannot find employment at the level of their education qualifications. Continue reading “South Korea’s Education Success Has a Dark Side”

Australia’s Declining School Results are Due to Ineffective Private Schools

A Melbourne University study has debunked some common myths about the relative performance of Australia’s public and private schools. It shows that the decline in Australia’s performance in international tests over the last decade is due to falling results in private schools, the falls being similar in both Independent and Catholic schools. It also shows that the decline has occurred across the whole range of student achievement and is not confined to high achieving students as some claim. Continue reading “Australia’s Declining School Results are Due to Ineffective Private Schools”

South Korean Students Go to School Twice – Once in the Day and Again at Night

South Korea is some of the most successful countries in the world in terms of education results. In 2009, it ranked equal second behind Shanghai in the top reading results on the OECD’s Programme for International Assessments (PISA), equal fourth in mathematics and equal third in science. One factor in this success is its high participation in private after-school tutoring in cram schools.

Cram schools, or hagwons as they are called, are big business in South Korea. About 75 per cent of all South Korean students participate in the private tutoring market. Some 88 per cent of primary school students, 78 per cent of junior high school students, and 63 per cent of senior high school students are engaged in private tutoring. Continue reading “South Korean Students Go to School Twice – Once in the Day and Again at Night”

No Evidence of “Rich Genes”

The Productivity Commission has recently put out a paper which suggests that inherited cognitive ability may contribute to educational gaps between students from rich and poor backgrounds – by perhaps as much as 20%. This has put the issue of possible genetic explanations of the differences between social groups in educational and more general social outcomes on the Australian social and political agenda. Continue reading “No Evidence of “Rich Genes””

Australia Still Lags in Pre-school Education

New figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that Australia still lags other developed countries in pre-school education. Australia has one of the lowest levels of enrolment in pre-school education in the OECD and spends less on pre-school education as a proportion of GDP than any other OECD country. Continue reading “Australia Still Lags in Pre-school Education”

MOOCs Will Come and Mostly Go Like Other EduTech Fads

Massively open online courses (MOOCS) are seen by many as the future of education, even replacing teachers in the classroom. They are being promoted by universities around the world. Large IT companies such as Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify headed by former New York City schools chancellor, Joel Klein, are betting that digital learning can replace teachers and are devoting millions and millions of dollars in developing and promoting online learning products. This article by an IT insider questions the value of online learning. Continue reading “MOOCs Will Come and Mostly Go Like Other EduTech Fads”

Hyperbole about Online Learning is Not Supported by Research

Renowned education scholar and recently retired Stanford University School of Education emeritus professor, Larry Cuban, says that false expectations have been created about the potential of the internet to transform education. He says that there is little sound research to support the hyperbole around online learning. Instead, its evangelists have gathered “a grab bag of defect-filled studies claiming student achievement gains”. Continue reading “Hyperbole about Online Learning is Not Supported by Research”

High Myopia Prevalence in East Asia Linked to After-School Tutoring

A new academic study has linked the high prevalence of myopia in East Asian countries with extensive use of after-school tutoring. It found that countries with high prevalence of myopia combined high educational performance with high engagement in after-school tutoring. Other countries such as Australia with low levels of myopia achieve high education outcomes with little after-school tutoring. Continue reading “High Myopia Prevalence in East Asia Linked to After-School Tutoring”

High Proportions of Asian Children Participate in Extra Tuition

A new survey shows that much higher proportions of Asian children participate in extra tuition outside school compared to Australian children. In Australia, there is much more emphasis on participation in sport than in academic tuition or learning a foreign language.

On average, 32 per cent of Asian children participate in extra tuition in academic subjects compared to 7 per cent of Australian children. About one-quarter of Asian students learn a foreign language compared to 6 per cent of Australian children. Continue reading “High Proportions of Asian Children Participate in Extra Tuition”