The Sad Reality of Emphasis on Education

The title may sound misleading as emphasis on education is not a bad thing! Where would we be if people like Horace Mann had not pushed for educational reforms? If the Obama administration did not seek to help the average person with their college funds? It is not that they are bad things. I am speaking of excessive emphasis on education.

Asia, in general, is regarded as one of the best educational systems in the world. The students study hard and get ahead of most of the world education-wise. However, that is if they survive the harsh impacts of parents and the culture. For example, if students in Korea are not achieving their utmost potential, parents often disown their children. It is a sad, harsh reality that Korea, according to newamericamedia, has now had the pessimistic title of carrying the highest suicide rate of the developed world – even surpassing Japan.

In November of 2012, diverseeducation‘s Dr. Marybeth Gasman reportedly participated in a seminar in which a Korean speaker stated that from childhood, children are expected to be successful academically. This, in turn, will cause them to have a high wage in the future, thus being “successful” in life. It is no surprise to me – having a Korean mother, I am able to understand that it is Korean culture to take care of your parents in their old age. The more money you have, the easier it will be to take care of your elders. At least, that is how I have rationalized the mentality.

The jagged lines suggest perfectionism is not necessary for completion. (photo by tarunactivity)

The jagged lines suggest perfectionism is not necessary for completion. (photo by tarunactivity)

There are pros to Korea’s methods of educating their youth. However, the methods of Asian culture do not allow for mistakes to be made. We are blessed that, here in America, we are always given another route and another second chance. If we did not, it is more than likely that our depression, and in turn, suicide rates would be higher as there would be substantially more “failures” in society.

Now, this is troubling to many, as America views Asian cultures and their stances on education as successful too. However, it will be extremely hard to reverse America’s lack of academic emphasis to the point that Asian cultures have implemented. The point is not that we should be implementing the Asian culture in education – however, reformations are being made to help expose our children to the world of knowledge and learning. Thankfully, our society and culture understands (somewhat) that education is the basis of cultivation. For this too, we may be thankful.

Education, like any other tool, must be taken in moderation. Just as it is in fitness and health, too much of a good thing may spoil you education-wise. For example, in referring to fitness, you may work yourself to the point of blacking out. It is in this way that is comparable to the efforts of Korean society – you may educate yourself to the point of desperation. The problem with pouring your life into education is that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice will make perfect. Perfection, in any other method, is just not attainable.

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