SEOUL, April 21 (Korea Bizwire) – A free-learning semester in which students can focus on activities such as discussion-centered classes, club activities and career guidance will be introduced at all middle schools in Korea according to the provisions of a new law.
The Ministry of Education announced a revision of the Enforcement Decree of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on April 20. In the revision, the government provides a legal background for all Korean middle schools to offer a free-learning semester. Currently, 42 middle schools offer the semester under a pilot project, and the government plans to expand it to all schools by next year.
During the free-learning semester, schools can operate student-participatory classes, evaluate the students on procedure, not results, and offer various experiential activities by giving students the chance to develop self-regulating curriculums.
A ministry official said, “Expansion of the free-learning semester will help set a new paradigm for our education system, escaping from memorization and cramming. As the current administration aims to reform the education system with the free-learning semester, we will do our best to provide support in the implementation of the policy.”
However, the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) objected to the government’s policy, arguing that the free-learning semester would lead to a decline in academic results.
In a statement released on April 20, the KFTA said, “Although the free-learning semester policy has good intentions, we worry that it can collapse the foundation of our school system. Currently, the free-learning semester is considered as a ‘holiday’ semester and the ministry should listen to voices from the frontline schools, who worry about the decline of academic results and the lack of infrastructure.”
By John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)