Friday, January 28, 2005

Education in Germany and Korea

People asked me a lot why I went to Korea to study a year abroad. Read this interesting article about Korean education from the German newspaper "Die Zeit".

Korea understood that educated citizens and technology are their only real resource in the future. Simple production jobs are moving away to China etc., and the country itself has no natural resources. So education is even more important.

We've got this debate in Germany as well. Federal as well as regional government states, the universities have to do better. Universities say, that they need more money to do so.

The solution seemed all too easy. From this week universities in Germany are allowed to take tuition fees from its students. Well, one might say, this is not unusual in the world. Right! But don't believe it's the ultimate solution to the problem. I don't even believe that it helps a sh...

Well, let's come back to Korea. They also take tuition fees. And if you compare a Korean campus to a German one, you'll notice, that the Korean one is ten times better equipped. Its libraries are longer open than the subway. The visiting hours of the academic staff is not limited to two hours a week. And so on.

But the difference is not so big, because Korea has long implemented a system of tuition fees. But because they understood the importance of education. Because their universities are more flexible. And because they spend one fifth of their budget on education compared to a mere 4.3% in Germany, which is less than the European average (see here for an offical German report). I don't believe that tuition fees can come up for that difference. And that's why we shouldn't regard this problem as solved.

Ah, and if you think about studying abroad, why not visiting a country where education is really considered important?

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