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经济学人:韩国的教育体制

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South Korea’s education system

韩国的教育体制

The great decompression

大减压

There are perils for a country in having all your children working too hard for one big exam

对一个国家来说,让所有孩子都为一场大型考试而精疲力尽是很危险的

Oct 26th 2013 |From the print edition

FEW countries have done better than South Korea over the past half-century. Within the span of a single working life, its economy has grown 17-fold, its government has evolved from an austere dictatorship into a rowdy democracy, and its culture, once scarred by censorship, now beguiles the world with its music, soap operas and cinema. Scholars enthuse about the speed and precocity of its “compressed development”.

在过去的半个世纪,几乎没有国家表现得比韩国更好。在仅仅一代工作人口的时间跨度里,韩国经济增长了17倍。韩国政府也从严厉的独裁政权进化成了热闹的民主政体。韩国的文化原来被审查体制弄得千疮百孔,现在韩国的音乐、连续剧和电影席卷世界。学者们对这种快速且早熟的“高压发展”非常关注。

The only people unimpressed by South Korea’s accomplishments may be South Koreans themselves. As our special report notes, the prosperity they enjoy has not relieved the competitive pressure they endure. To them, the country’s development is compressed in a different way. Its success is confined to a few big employers and industries. The country’s manufacturers are more impressive than its service firms, although these now generate most jobs. And in manufacturing its big, family-owned conglomerates (the chaebol) do far better than their small, hard-pressed suppliers.

唯一对韩国的成就不以为然的大概只有韩国人自己了。正如本刊特别报道里所说,韩国人所享受的繁荣并没有缓解其承受的竞争压力。对韩国人而言,国家发展是通过其他方式实现的。韩国的成功仅限于几家大企业和大产业。韩国制造业表现要比服务业好得多,虽然现在后者提供大部分的工作岗位。而在制造业中,几家大型的家族式企业集团(即财阀)的表现要比拮据的小型企业好得多。

Unsurprisingly, ambitious young South Koreans crave employment in the thriving bits of the economy. Medicine, law, finance and government remain popular, but the chaebol now take the cream. Like the civil service and the professions, Samsung, Hyundai and their peers tend to hire people straight from the best universities, with little chance of entry later in life. This creates a double bottleneck in the labour market. There are only a few appealing employers to choose from, and only one realistic chance to join them. So youngsters spend ages padding out their CVs and prepping for exams—especially for the test taken at 18 which determines your university.

毫无疑问,雄心勃勃的韩国年轻人都渴望能在经济中的强势方谋一份职业。制药、法律、金融以及政府职位依旧受欢迎,但财阀才是最大赢家。跟公务员和专业人士招聘一样,三星、现代等大集团喜欢直接从顶尖大学中挑人,不给年纪稍大的人留下多少机会。这就给劳动市场造成了双瓶颈现象。有吸引力的雇主就这么几家,而想加入他们,比较现实的机会仅有一种。于是,年轻人花大把时间炮制自己的简历,不停备考,尤其是准备18岁时参加的大学入学考试。

This seems like a small thing, and many Western countries would kill to have South Korea’s problem: it is hard to imagine British or American parents fretting that their teenagers work too hard.South Koreacomes at or near the top of most international comparisons of reading, maths and science. But there are costs. A lot of effort goes into costly credentialism, rather than deep learning. The system excludes late-developing talent: blossom at 25, and it’s too late. And in the very long term it means a smaller country. The expense of educating children for the test is one reason why South Korean women give birth to so few of them. With the lowest fertility rate in the OECD rich-country club,South Korea’s greying threatens to be as rapid as its growth.

这看起来没什么大不了的,许多西方国家对韩国能有这种问题羡慕得要死:很难想象英国或美国的家长抱怨自己的孩子太努力了。在阅读、数学以及科学方面的国际对比中,韩国人就算不是最优,也是名列前茅。但这是有代价的。大量的精力花在了追求文凭,而不是深入学习。这种体制排斥了那些大器晚成的人:25岁才开窍,太晚了。从长远来讲,这会导致国家人口减少。孩子应试花费过大是韩国女性少生育的原因之一。韩国的生育率在经合组织发达国家中是最低的,老龄化威胁的增长跟经济增长一样快。

The indirect cure for education fever

教育狂热的间接疗法

Other education-obsessed countries in Asia face a version of the same problem. In the pastSouth Korea’s government tried to help parents by banning out-of-class tutoring. (The president of Seoul National University had to resign after letting his own child dodge the ban.) But such pedagogical prohibition is illiberal, and was anyway ruled unconstitutional in 2000. The answer lies not in the schools but in the overall economy—and in creating a more open labour market where more firms are interested in hiring people later.

亚洲许多对教育偏执的国家都有类似的问题。之前,韩国政府想帮父母一把,制订了禁止课外补习的政策。(首尔国立大学校长违反规定,让自己的孩子补习,最后只能辞职。)但是,这种针对教学方式的禁令是违背自由精神的,而且在2000年还被判为违宪。要解决问题,关键不在学校,而在整体经济——要构建更开放的劳动市场,让企业有兴趣雇佣年纪稍大的人。

The government should do three things. First, scrap regulations that divide the jobs market into permanent employees, paid more than they are worth, and temporary workers, paid less. Second, it should encourage more firms, including foreign ones, into industries now dominated by the chaebol, expanding the range of alternative employers. And third, it should push the chaebol to expand into services, which they have diplomatically refrained from doing. Retailing, tourism, local transport: all these need some chaebol clout and efficiency.

政府能做的有三点。第一,现在就业市场里有长期雇员和临时雇员之别,长期雇员能得到与其能力不相称的高薪,而临时雇员的薪资则达不到应得的水平,必须消除造成这种差别的规矩。第二,政府应鼓励更多企业,包括外国企业,进入目前为财阀所掌控的行业,扩大求职者可选择的雇主范围。第三,政府要推动财阀进入他们目前不想插手的服务业。零售、旅游、本地交通等行业都需要一些财阀参与,增进效率。

South Korea has astonished the world with its compressed development. For the benefit of hard-pressed parents and hard-working youths, it needs a bout of decompression.

韩国已经以其高压发展让世界刮目。为了那些钱包紧张的家长和紧张学习的年轻人,韩国需要减一减压。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
democracy [di'mɔkrəsi]

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n. 民主,民主制,民主国家

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alternative [ɔ:l'tə:nətiv]

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adj. 两者择一的; 供选择的; 非主流的

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entry ['entri]

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n. 进入,入口,登记,条目

 
popular ['pɔpjulə]

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adj. 流行的,大众的,通俗的,受欢迎的

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dodge [dɔdʒ]

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v. 避开,躲避 n. 躲避

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generate ['dʒenə.reit]

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vt. 产生,发生,引起

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costly ['kɔstli]

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adj. 昂贵的,代价高的

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indirect [.indi'rekt]

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adj. 间接的,迂回的,次要的,不坦率的,欺骗的

 
scrap [skræp]

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n. 碎片,废品
vt. 舍弃,报废

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padding ['pædiŋ]

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n. 垫充,垫塞,填料,废话

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关键字: 教育体制 韩国

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