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Abstract
South Korea’s quality education system rests on four pillars: (1) putting education at the
center of a long-term development strategy, (2) getting the right people to become
teachers, (3) developing these people into effective instructors, and (4) prioritizing
information and communications technology in education. In contrast with Honduras
regarding academic performance, both the national assessments such as international
ones indicate that the learning outcomes are extremely low. Regarding the coverage of
the system, still there are too many children and young people outside the system
education, and access appears to be associated with socio-economic conditions of the
students. Policies of positive discrimination are needed that support access, especially in
pre-basic, third cycle of basic and on average, for those students who present conditions
socio-economic factors, in particular in rural areas and municipalities with greater
poverty indices.
Keywords

South Korea’s education system

Honduras’s education system

Information and communications technology in education

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)
South Korea´s Education
Korea’s education system is also noted for the good performance of its students
internationally. For example, in the 2014 PISA test, Korea and Singapore obtained the
place in creative problem solving (OECD, s.f.). Also, during the 2006, 2009 and 2015
tests, South Korea scored higher than the average suggested by OECD in reading and
mathematics. (The Chosunilbo, s.f.)
However, this system is also famous for the great pressure it exerts on young students.
Education is highly valued in the country and seen as a way of gaining professional
prestige. The system is extremely competitive and students have a very high pressure
from their parents to get the best grades and be able to enter the top three universities in
the country, known by the acronym SKY: Seoul National, Korea and Yonsei. Studying
at these universities will guarantee them a privileged social status and the most desirable
and better paid job positions. (The Conversation, 2015)
The excessive pressure exerts its positive fruits, almost always placing South Korea in
the top positions of international rankings. However, stress leaves consequences ranging
from physical discomfort, depression, and in some cases, to suicide. (New York Times)
Both teachers and parents are aware of this pressure because of the importance of this
type of training and the weight of good education that will affect the life of every South
Korean ineffectively.
South Korea´s Facts
1. South Korea’s quality education system rests on four pillars: putting education at the
center of a long-term development strategy, getting the right people to become teachers,
developing these people into effective instructors, and prioritizing information and
communications technology in education.
2. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the South Korean people is their fervor
for education, a fervor that is probably not equaled in the world. This passion for
learning, often called the ‘‘education syndrome,’’ has deep roots in South Korea’s
traditional respect for knowledge and strong conviction in ongoing, lifelong human
development.
3. This focus on learning originates largely from the age-old Confucian belief that man
can be made better through education and that only the most educated should govern the
country and society.
4. The South Korean government prioritizes the country’s education system because it
is also viewed as an efficient, essential mechanism for nurturing national strength and
due to the extraordinary progress in making education accessible to all citizens.
5.The South Korean government established a strong public-school system and
employed it as the principal instrument for the country’s nation-building project.
Schools developed a new set of principles, doctrines, and skills that support the
political–economic structure of the society.
6. South Korean students always perform in the top rankings among countries
participating in international tests such as the Program for International Student
Assessment.
7. In South Korea, teachers are selected from a group of candidates with high academic
achievement. Candidates have to meet demanding requirements and perform well and
the salary is high in South Korea and increases over time. In 2000, the annual salary of
primary school teachers was US$39,720. The South Korean government holds that
paying teachers a good salary is essential for getting the right people to become
teachers, and for encouraging teachers to stay in the profession.
8. What distinguishes South Koreans from everyone else, however, is the great number
of hours they study outside the classroom. High school students are often engaged in
academic activities until midnight and later. After taking classes in up to 11 subjects,
they attend private academies called ‘‘hagwons’’.
10 Keys to Education in South Korea
1. Education is the engine of development. Since South Korea was freed from
Japanese occupation in 1945, successive governments have opted for education
as a means of lifting the country out of poverty and generating human capital
capable of compensating for its lack of resources. To this day, South Koreans
have an absolute passion for education, which they see as the only way to build
a good future and contribute to the country’s economic growth. Therefore, the
students' efforts can be interpreted as a kind of patriotism: their formation is
linked to the future of the country.
2. Education is free and compulsory from 7 to 15 years of age. This period covers
the six years of primary education and the first three years of secondary
education. Students are required to pass a test in order to pass secondary school.
There is also a selectivity to enter the University, known as "the hell of exams."
Schooling can be carried out in both public and private schools. There are hardly
any pedagogical differences between them since the State exercises important
control. Students enjoy a free lunch at school.
3. The State and citizens make a huge investment in education. The Republic of
Korea devotes almost 7 % of its GDP to it (in Spain it is 4,5 %) and earmarks
funds to send the best students to study in the United States, China or Europe.
Upon completion of compulsory education, 90% of families invest around 400
euros per month (almost 20% of their salary) for their children to complete their
academic training and achieve a career. In addition, it is common for families to
make donations to public schools to improve facilities or teachers.
4. Education policies are long term, but curricula are updated. Education laws are
not affected by changes of government. However, South Koreans modify the
school curriculum every five years to adapt it to the country’s labour and growth
needs. In this way, students are prepared for the demands of the society in which
they live.
5. Teachers are highly respected. As in Finland, teachers are among the best paid
and most revered professionals in the country. "You must not even step in the
shadow of the master," says a Korean proverb. Only the best pupils in each
class, 5 % of applicants, access the Magisterial Schools and annual evaluations
are carried out throughout the teaching period, in which pupils and their families
also participate. The most outstanding teachers are given specific training to
lead, as an elite teacher, pedagogy in schools.
6. Students receive more than 10 hours of class per day. South Koreans spend
between 6 and 7 hours in school. At five o'clock in the afternoon, the center
itself offers you a quick dinner to arrive on time at the academy or Hagwon,
where you receive four to five more hours of private lessons. Their day does not
end there, as they are still studying at home. South Korean students study 16
hours more a week than the OECD average.
7. Competitiveness and results govern the system. For South Koreans, if someone
does not succeed in school, they will not succeed in life either. They study to run
companies that lead the economic development of the country, not to be
employed. These ideas translate into a high level of demand when studying.
Without good results, students will not be able to access the best universities or
choose the path they want to follow in order to achieve a good job. This idea
generates a lot of pressure. Therefore, according to OECD surveys, South
Korean students are the unhappiest. As a result, the suicide rate among children
under 24 is the highest in the world.
8. Children do not have time to play or interact, and there is a lot of discipline in
the classroom. School obligations leave them little time to sleep, so socializing
is considered a waste of time. For this reason, adolescents are sent up to 60 SMS
a day, and one in six children claims to be lonely. In schools, discipline is fierce.
To be unpunctual or not to do duties is considered a serious misconduct and may
even involve physical punishment. And most schools censor engagements, as
they take away students' study hours.
9. The system encourages memorization and leaves aside creativity. Teachers
explain at full speed. The important thing is that the students acquire knowledge.
The more, the better. Thus, conceptual understanding and creativity are
neglected. This could explain why, being the first in the university entrance tests
like Harvard or Yale, once there, almost 44% fail, not knowing how to
improvise or work as a team.
10. It’s about technology in the classroom. Digital competence is considered a
priority, as its development enables students to meet the challenges of the 21st
century. Teachers are trained to integrate ICT into their classes, and technology
is seen as a tool for everyone to access education. Nearly three million students
study from home via the Internet thanks to the Cyberhome system, a digital
platform that allows them to strengthen their education without having to attend
private academies. In addition, the Government announced in 2011 its intention
to introduce digital textbooks in schools. Thus, by the end of this year, it is
expected that students will no longer use printed books. (AulaPlaneta, 2015)
Honduras Education System
The government of Honduras has a public-school system that provides free schooling
through the sixth grade. Many of the remote villages we serve will, at best, have a one
or two-room schoolhouse and one-two teachers for all six grades. Our experience,
however, is that these schools are substandard in every respect: books, supplies,
curriculum. Often the teachers go unpaid for months at a time.
When a child graduates from the sixth grade, education stops for most students. Boys
usually go to work in the fields with their fathers, or they gravitate to the cities for low
paying jobs. Girls typically go home and help raise the children until they marry early
and start families of their own. Marriages of girls at age 12-14 are not uncommon.
Education beyond the sixth grade (college in Honduras) is considered “private
education” as the government does not require or provide education past primary school
and these expenses must be paid by the parents. Families from these rural areas cannot
afford the costs of this education.
The Honduras Good Works Secondary Education Scholarship Fund requests $275 per
school year per student which goes toward books, uniforms, school supplies, school
fees, and transportation. Children who live close to a school will receive less, while
those who live far away, may receive more, as transportation is the single greatest cost
in achieving an education. Our scholarship does not cover the entire cost of going to
school. Parents must contribute toward the cost, and we are careful to communicate that
an education is not “free”, nor is it “charity.” We believe this shared cost approach
ensures parents and students are making a commitment to education, to support the
importance of attending classes regularly, studying at home, adhering to the program’s
strict behavior criteria, and making the grades to pass to the next grade.
The first three years of college are basic courses of science, history, etc; the last two to
three years of the program are a student-chosen career track. If one completes a career
track in education, the person is qualified to teach in a primary school. Therefore,
completing college moves one from menial work to professional work.
Educational challenges
1. However, Honduras shows great disparities in education. Despite being one of
the countries in the Central American region that spends the highest percentage
of its national budget on education, it exhibits some of the lowest performance.
(Human Capital Report, 2016)
2. The government of Honduras has a public-school system that provides free
schooling through the sixth grade. Many of the remote villages we serve will, at
best, have a one or two-room schoolhouse and one-two teachers for all six
grades.
3. Our experience, however, is that these schools are substandard in every respect:
books, supplies, curriculum. Often the teachers go unpaid for months at a time.
4. Some challenges that have negative impacts in terms of the country’s human
capital are:
a. One in ten Hondurans are illiterate, and in rural areas, this increases to two in ten.
b. Sixty-three percent of the Honduran labor force has only a primary education.
c. Performance in primary and secondary school is remedial: less than one in ten
achieve a milestone goal in reading, math or sciences.
d. Eighty-one percent of the Honduran labor force is concentrated in the agriculture or
manufacturing sectors.
e. Twenty-seven percent of Honduran youth neither study nor work, and 39% only work
but do not study.
5. Education remains a critical tool to build human capital and endow a country’s
workforce due to all significant challenges that are face in its educational landscape and
poor performance at the earliest levels becomes, in practice, obstacles for achievement
at higher levels.
6. As a result, more than half of Honduras’ workforce has a primary education only
which, in turn, affects their income and poverty levels. Similarly, to other countries in
the region, development, insecurity and education are closely interrelated in Honduras.
On the one hand, its pervasive violence constitutes a significant factor that hinders
educational enrollment and performance among the students.
7. On the other, migration processes that result from lack of opportunities and violence
also exert an influence on the number of drop-out students across the whole education
specter. (ERCA, 2016)
Purposes of the National Education:
1. forming the Homeland citizens: lovers of their homeland, aware of their duties
and rights, with a deep sense of responsibility and respect for human dignity.:
2.
Contribute to the development of the human personality.
3. in: training citizens: able to build a democracy that adequately reconciles the
interests of the individual with those of the community
4. Stimulate: The development of feelings of: solidarity and
Understanding among the nations. 5 6 in:
5.
Training for the evaluation of work as a fundamental duty in the promotion of
the economic life of the country: science and technology for the integral
development of the nation.
6. To contribute to the preservation of the health, formation and spiritual elevation
of man and spiritual. (Nolasco, 2016)
Conclusions
Honduras
Education remains a critical tool to build human capital and endow a country’s
workforce with the necessary skills to compete in a globalized economy. As this brief
has shown, Honduras faces significant challenges in its educational landscape and poor
performance at the earliest levels becomes, in practice, obstacles for achievement at
higher levels. As a result, more than half of Honduras’ workforce has a primary
education only which, in turn, affects their income and poverty levels.
Similarly to other countries in the region, development, insecurity and education are
closely interrelated in Honduras. On the one hand, its pervasive violence constitutes a
significant factor that hinders educational enrollment and performance among the
students. On the other, migration processes that result from lack of opportunities and
violence also exert an influence on the number of drop-out students across the whole
education specter.
Furthermore, despite its relative high levels of investment in education, Honduras fares
lower than its regional counterparts and students exhibit significant differences in their
performance according to their income level.
What comes across is the need to rethink the prevailing approach to education and
human capital in Honduras, motivating a national dialogue that goes beyond simply
educational expenditures, and considers the role of investments in extracurricular and
after school education. Under the existing circumstances, it is highly unlikely that the
economy and its labor force will substantially progress beyond limited goals; education
reform requires a radical departure from the current approach. (Inter-American
Dialogue, 2017)
South Korea
Although the results of testing and good school performance in South Korea are very
positive, the excessive pressure on young people leaves some consequences that should
be reassessed. The competitive environment makes classes, for example, in many cases
rigid. A South Korean student consulted by Palabra Maestra described the system as
"stiff and without creativity". Also, during this period students do not hold exhibitions
and there are few group works. Due to the competitive environment, in some cases the
interaction between students is restricted.
The discipline and philosophy of hard work of the South Koreans is undoubtedly one of
the engines that transformed the country and brought it out of a deep crisis. In decades,
the country went from ruin to being a great economic power. However, finding
employment is an arduous task and the levels of indebtedness of its citizens are high. It
should be noted that the system and its high level of competitiveness significantly affect
the welfare of the population. (Compartir Palabra Maestra, 2015)
Bibliografía
AulaPlaneta. (17 de february de 2015). Obtenido de
https://www.aulaplaneta.com/2015/02/17/noticias-sobre-educacion/las-diez-clavesde-la-educacion-en-corea-del-sur-infografia/
Compartir Palabra Maestra. (10 de august de 2015). Obtenido de
https://www.compartirpalabramaestra.org/articulos-informativos/sistemaseducativos-del-mundo-corea-del-sur
ERCA. (2016). Quinto Informe Estado de la región en Desarrollo Humano Sostenible 2016,
Costa Rica, PEN CONARE. pág. 81.
Human Capital Report. (2016). Obtenido de http://reports.weforum.org/human-capital-report2016/technical-notes/).
(2017). Inter-American Dialogue.
New York Times. (s.f.). Obtenido de KOO, See-Weng (2014). “An Assault Upon Our Children”:
http://www.nytimes.com
Nolasco, J. H. (15 de junio de 2016). Obtenido de https://es.scribd.com/doc/315781070/Finesde-La-Educacion-en-Honduras
OECD. (s.f.). Obtenido de www.oecd.org/education/singapore-and-korea-top-first-oecd-pisaproblem-solving-test.htm
The Chosunilbo. (s.f.). Obtenido de english.chosun.com
The Conversation. (2015). Obtenido de “South Korean education ranks high, but it’s the kids
who pay”: http://theconversation.com
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