English Education Overseas – an outgrowth of globalisation

More and more is being reported about South Korea’s somewhat obsessive drive for English language education. We’re not talking about getting good grades in English as a Foreign Language (EFL), but students trying to reach the level of a native English speaker. The article Speak English, child! This is Korea refers to the Koreans’ insecurity about not speaking enough English to participate in the business world.

China and Japan’s approach to this lack of perfect English knowledge is a bit more relaxed. Granted, all Asian countries have thriving English cram schools and small armies of private tutors to satisfy the need for EFL, but South Korea’s thirst for English is unslakable. Along with the pressure cooker of the country’s rigid educational system, Korean demand for English education is boiling over.

In another article, Rush to study abroad splits Korean families , a new phenomenon is highlighted. Whereas in former days – only fifteen years ago – a conscientious father would occasionally leave his family behind in Korea or Japan while he was being transferred to Europe. He left them behind as not to disturb the main priority of the children – their education. Families separated – in the name of Confucian teaching. Learning is more valuable than other family matters.

This trend is being reversed right now. Families are splitting to gain education as many Koreans believe a good education in English will give their children the cutting edge over the rest of its extremely competitive society.

Will the family miss the fathers they’ve left behind? Not much, I think.

A not-so-unusual day of a Korean family with older kids:

The high schooler finishes school at 10:00 p.m., then goes off to cram school till midnight, comes home at 12:30 to shower, eat, and do homework.

The father comes home from the office or dinner at the restaurant with the boss, coworkers and some Korean bomb drinks at 2:00.

The mother leaves for shopping at 11:00 p.m. and gets back by midnight to start cooking for the next day.

On the other hand, the wife, who takes her kids out of the country and endures its challenges, will raise her standing in society. She is the one who has to manage her Education Mama lifestyle. Her status increases as her navigation of the kids to a better life represents more available money. She will do her best to ensure her children’s education, which in turn will reflect on her capabilities as a mother and benefit the hard working father’s standing as well.

Her benefits? Her social standing in Korea for living in an English speaking country will be raised. She does not have to cook extensively for a traditional husband (some Korean men don’t know how to put together a meal), and she won’t have to participate in annual family feasts such as Chusok, or New Year’s Day, when women have to cook endlessly to provide food for all the family members, etc. If she happens to be married to a first-born son, she can also escape from her obligation to take care of her husband’s parents during those years. And her time spent in New Zealand, e.g., will look like a glorious venture for the sake of her children’s education.

Korea has its own opponents to this “wild geese” family syndrome. Its critics will call the mothers English-obsessed, allowing themselves to become deluded by their tunnel vision of success, and neglecting their children’s native language.

Korea is a very competitive country, not only in terms of its drive to attain material wealth, but also in its desire to amass educational capital. So, who are these competitors? Are they the ones who can’t afford this double household life and out-of-country school tuition and therefore react against it? Or are they the sensible ones? We shall see.

Korea is a very trendy country, which means any trend -whether in education, cosmetic surgery, etc. – changes every few years.

Diese Webseite verwendet Cookies. Wenn Sie auf der Seite weitersurfen, stimmen Sie der Cookie-Nutzung zu. Mehr Informationen

Diese Webseite verwendet so genannte Cookies. Sie dienen dazu, unser Angebot nutzerfreundlicher, effektiver und sicherer zu machen. Cookies sind kleine Textdateien, die auf Ihrem Rechner abgelegt werden und die Ihr Browser speichert. Die meisten der von uns verwendeten Cookies sind so genannte "Session-Cookies". Sie werden nach Ende Ihres Besuchs automatisch gelöscht. Cookies richten auf Ihrem Rechner keinen Schaden an und enthalten keine Viren. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Seite “Datenschutzerklärung”.