It is no exaggeration to say that most secondary education in Korea has a curriculum set up for the College Scholastic Ability Test. Because of this education system, even today’s college students have not, or are not, deeply concerned about what they want to do and what they plan to do. But in the case of some European countries, which have more advanced education than our country, many students have been systematically organized since childhood with specific dreams and future plans. In the Netherlands in Western Europe, in particular, secondary education is divided into several areas, offering a variety of learning and career paths for many students. Then, let’s find out about the internal and external aspects of our country’s secondary education compared with the Netherlands’ secondary education, and I am going to describe what we need to learn.
In Korea, the secondary education is called two-level education. The education corresponds to education at the middle and high school levels. In middle school, students learn what they will learn in high school at a low level. In high school education, students learn a lot for entering the university. We have evaluated and tests of this several times in secondary education and school activities and experience. In a way, this is a cascade over the college as the ultimate goal of education as part of it would be fair. Of course, this curriculum is not unhelpful for students’ future. Ultimately, there is a limit to give each student a chance to think deeply about what they are going to do in the future after graduating from school. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, secondary education has the option of choosing different secondary education courses depending on their individual aptitude through school counseling and government-administered exams. It has a six-year preparatory course for college, a five-year course for general secondary education, and a four-year course for vocational secondary education. In particular, students who have completed the vocational secondary education courses are going to acquire general education for the first two years and later major-building education. Students who have completed these courses can enter advanced vocational courses (MBOs). Through this fine-grained curriculum, Dutch students have the opportunity to think about what they are talented and curious about by completing various professional educations.
Next, on the outside, our country is compulsory education until middle school education. High school education is not compulsory, so students go to school by paying tuition for both public and private schools. Even when students go to college after finishing secondary education, they have to pay for college tuition. In contrast, in the Netherlands, the state subsidizes everything from primary to secondary schools based on a well-served national system. Also, students who go through a six-year college preparatory course in secondary education go to school for free even after college. In addition, university students are provided with various benefits such as free transportation.
Considering both the internal and external aspects, the fact that the level of welfare still falls the short of that of Western Europe, such as the Netherlands and that the unification of the educational goals, may be the reason why we have to narrow the chances of choice in our students’ careers. The day is going to coming soon when students will be exposed to various educational opportunities through the investment and the welfare in the education sector based on a more advanced economic base.