Sunday, April 27, 2008

Minjok in American News

The New York Times has an article about Korea’s most prestigious high school (and some other school, I don’t know).

Minjok, located in central Gangwondo (if you take the bus from Seoul to Gangneung, you will stop at a rest station next to the school – look for the traditional-style buildings next to the milk factory), sends many students to the US every year for university. I should say, to the best universities.

The article goes through the student’s grueling schedules and serious work ethic.

I know a little about the school from working at summer and winter camps for middle school students. Those camps have given me the chance to see the grounds, speak to some of the teachers and some of the students (current and alumni) who assist in running the camp.

The students, even the middle school students there for a camp, work terrifyingly hard; and pay dearly for the opportunity. In fact, paying tuition is new: the founder also ran the nearby milk factory and used its profits to fund the school. The school was free for its first few years. I think at that time the schedule was even tougher as the students and families couldn’t threaten to take their tuition elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the factory fell on hard times and had to be financially separated from the school. Tuition (I believe high tuition) was required and the camps began as a way to meet costs. In other words, although tuition is high, it is still not enough, the students are getting more than they pay for.

To learn more about the school, check the website of Alexander Ganse, who teaches history and more and posts students papers online. Their papers are the last link on this page. Minjok also has a wikipedia page.

The Marmot's hole commenters are also discussing the article.

I hope to be back there this summer.

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