Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Korean schools much more crowded than OECD average

This sort of stating the obvious, but it's good to have objective, research-based information on which to formulate policy. And make no mistake, since the 1960s Korea has been driven by an effort to get the nation in line with — or better than — the standards of advanced countries. 

So when an National Statistical Office does a study on OECD norms in the classroom and comes up with a stark statistic like 31.6 students in an average Korean classroom versus an OECD average of 21.5, something will change. Maybe not enough, and possibly even in the wrong direction, but something. 

Of course, smaller class size is not the end-all, beat-all solution, but it certainly frees up the teacher to focus on more students at an individual level, and it also makes disciplinary action much more manageable. This is a no-brainer. 

Already, according to the article, there will be a drop in class size to the OECD average by 2012 for elementary schools and by 2016 for middle schools. The smaller class size may be in part due to a shrinking student population, thanks to Korea's low fertility: by 2030 there will be 40% fewer elementary school aged children than in 2007. 

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