TODAY -

Ukhrul District vs South Korea in Educational Field

Professor Timothy Kaping *

The Road leading Ukhrul :: March 2010
The Road leading Ukhrul :: March 2010



After working for the Nagas' struggle for self-determination for seven years, I requested and was kindly given a discharge in February 2001. But for some years I gave some outside support to the Naga cause whenever I could. Then I delinked myself from that path and gave 100% attention to education.

I finished two years of my three-year theological course last December, and this is my second year working as an evangelist in Global Vision Church, Seoul. Besides my theological studies, I am serving as a professor and Academic Dean at Graduate School of LPMK (www.lpmkorea.com). Also, as Director of EngPACE, often times I equip Korean and international believers with Christian ideals of Prayer, Availability, Contact, and Example. I enjoy my teaching profession, and this job often reminds me of my days in Ukhrul District.

Beginning from mid-1980s, I taught for almost a decade in Ukhrul District. Also, I have worked as a teacher in South Korea for many years now, and there are certain aspects where I feel students and people of Ukhrul District can do well in emulating their counterparts in Korea.

The first thing that impresses foreigners is that Korean students are extremely studious. Most of the students leave home at 5 AM and return home well after 10 PM, then go to special study schools and often remain there till 2 AM. The is the common saying in Korea: "If you sleep three hours a day, you may get into one of the top universities; if you sleep four hours each day, you may get into other universities; if you sleep five or more hours each day, especially when you are in high school, forget getting into any university."

Journalist W. Branigin of the Washington Post says that "Korean students are the most literate bunch and do exceedingly well in the areas of science and mathematics." This is possible because the competition is very heated and fierce and Korean students do not mind sacrificing social and family life to the supreme end of getting the best education. President Obama's repeatedly praised South Korean system of education due to the number of engineers the country produces and the amount of time Korean children spend in school compared with America.

Secondly, discipline problems are quite infrequent in Korea. Students have great respect for teachers and they bow whenever meeting their teachers who are very hard working as well (I see many teachers going home after midnight). And all these years I have never heard of students "skipping classes."

Thirdly, Korea gives maximum emphasis to technology and it was the first country in the world to provide high-speed internet access to every class from primary school to university. No wonder, every student here has considerable interest in computers, and most of the houses have more than one computer.

Fourthly, Korea has always valued parent involvement in education. Parent groups meet regularly and serve as a liaison between parents and the schools. Parents can get a clear sense of what is happening in their child's school through the class website. They work very hard and are quite willing to dig very deeply into their pockets to assure their children's success in school, and children work very hard in school to please their parents. More than 95% of students attend after-school private tutoring centres to learn English, maths, martial arts or music, and their parents willingly pay the expensive fees.

The economic success of Korea as one of the richest countries in the world is in part due to the Korean reverence for education and the value placed on it.

The literacy rate of Korea was 22% in 1945, and its GDP was about Rs. 12,500 in 1970. Now the literacy is 98% and the GDP is over twenty lakh rupees.

Korea's spectacular progress in modernization and economic growth since the Korean War (1950-53) is largely because of the Koreans investing a large amount of resources in education that resulted in the huge improvement of "human capital."

As they have a hyper-competitive learning system, the government places high emphasis on it by making its deputy prime minister handle the education ministry. Korea spends four lakh sixty-seven thousand rupees per student every year. Elementary school children across Korea are served fresh wholesome food completely free from Monday to Friday.

South Korea has managed to go from massive illiteracy to topping the global charts in both quantity and quality of education. People saw sheer determination in Koreans to build a world class country, and the commitment of every citizen to do his or her part in the grand design.

Education was a central part of that grand design from the start. Can the students and parents and teachers of Ukhrul District adopt the discipline and hard working culture of South Koreans? I am sure you can surely do things like them.


* Professor Timothy Kaping wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
Feedbacks can be sent through e-mail, kaping02(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on January 27 , 2014.


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