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时间:2020-10-28 22:29来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

In South Korea, Poorer Students Hit Harder by COVID-19 Restrictions1

Like many students around the world, children in South Korea are struggling with distance learning because of coronavirus health restrictions. Many are taking online classes from home.

Some experts say the reduced interaction with teachers, digital distractions3 and technical difficulties are making it hard for students. This is especially the case if they have problems learning or are from poor families.

Han Shin Bi has struggled during at-home learning. She is a senior in high school in Seoul. "Online classes are really inconvenient4," she told the Associated Press. "I ended up with a bad grade (on an exam) because I didn't really focus on studying while online."

For students who were doing well before the health crisis5, things have been less difficult. They often come from middle- and upper-class families. They have had an easier time keeping their grades up. They often have family support if they run into trouble.

South Korea is considered by many to be an education-obsessed6 country. People place great importance on getting good jobs with big companies. The university that a South Korean young person attends can decide many things about that person's future: job possibilities, social groups and even who they can marry.

Gu Bongchang is policy director of a non-governmental organization called World Without Worries About Shadow Education. Gu said it is a mistake to believe that a person's educational history and their ability are the same.

A recent government study of 51,021 teachers showed that about 80 percent of those questioned saw an increasing difference between their strongest and weakest students.

To deal with the problem, the Education Ministry7 has employed part-time teachers to help 29,000 students in elementary schools. Some teachers have been asked to temporarily work with about 2,300 high schoolers who are struggling.

Some of the problems

Some students have problems when teachers mostly prerecord talks online. Han, for example, could not ask questions in real time. In addition, her family does not have enough money to pay a tutor or send her to a cram8 school, like most of her friends.

"If I had had lots of money, I think I could have learned many things (after school)...and I actually wanted to learn English and Chinese at cram schools," she said.

Even some highly successful students say distance learning is difficult.

"I felt I was trapped at the same place and I got lots of psychological stress," said Ma Seo-bin, a high school senior at a costly9 foreign language school near Seoul. Ma added that it was hard not to have friends for support.

South Korea restarted in-person classes in steps in May. Officials let high-school seniors return first. The idea was to let the seniors prepare for the national university entrance exam in December — possibly the biggest test in their lives. Younger students returned later, but in a limited way that still requires most of them to take online classes at home.

In June, hundreds of thousands took a nationwide test to prepare for the December exam. In that test, the number of students with high-ranking scores increased in the three important subjects — Korean, English and math. To experts, this suggested the questions were easier than an earlier test.

But the number of those with the lowest scores also increased. Kang Minjung is a South Korean lawmaker and a member of an education committee. Kang said the results suggest that "educational polarization has become severe."

Lim Sung-ho is with the private Jongro Academy in Seoul. Lim said the health crisis is worsening the educational difference between rich and poor.

A study by the Education Ministry and the national statistics10 office last year found that 75 percent of South Korean students used some form of private education. Families spent an average of $377 each month. Middle- and higher-income families spent five times more for private education than lower-income families.

Ma's parents both work for a private English institute. Ma said they pay about $1,750 a month for their daughter's private education and $17,550 a year for her schooling11 and living costs. They said it is worth the cost given how important education is to her future.

"I have no regrets," said Ma's father, Ma Moon Young.

Y.H. Yoon is a single mother of three children in Seoul. She worries her sons will not be able to keep up because she cannot send them to cram school. She needs to work instead of helping12 them while they study at home. But she urges them to study hard, even through the difficulties and the coronavirus crisis, so that they can one day get into good universities.

Words in This Story

distraction2 –n. something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention

inconvenient –adj. causing trouble or problems

focus –v. to direct effort or attention on something

obsessed –adj. to think about something to much

tutor –n. a teacher who works with one student

cram school –n. a special school that teaches a lot in a short period of time with the aim of training student for a goal, like doing well on a standardized13 test

psychological stress –n. tension that comes the mind, such as from worry

polarization –n. to cause groups to be separated into opposing sides

income –n. money that is earned from work, investments or business


1 restrictions 81e12dac658cfd4c590486dd6f7523cf     
约束( restriction的名词复数 ); 管制; 制约因素; 带限制性的条件(或规则)
  • I found the restrictions irksome. 我对那些限制感到很烦。
  • a snaggle of restrictions 杂乱无章的种种限制
2 distraction muOz3l     
  • Total concentration is required with no distractions.要全神贯注,不能有丝毫分神。
  • Their national distraction is going to the disco.他们的全民消遣就是去蹦迪。
3 distractions ff1d4018fe7ed703bc7b2e2e97ba2216     
n.使人分心的事[人]( distraction的名词复数 );娱乐,消遣;心烦意乱;精神错乱
  • I find it hard to work at home because there are too many distractions. 我发觉在家里工作很难,因为使人分心的事太多。
  • There are too many distractions here to work properly. 这里叫人分心的事太多,使人无法好好工作。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 inconvenient m4hy5     
  • You have come at a very inconvenient time.你来得最不适时。
  • Will it be inconvenient for him to attend that meeting?他参加那次会议会不方便吗?
5 crisis pzJxT     
  • He had proved that he could be relied on in a crisis.他已表明,在紧要关头他是可以信赖的。
  • The topic today centers about the crisis in the Middle East.今天课题的中心是中东危机。
6 obsessed 66a4be1417f7cf074208a6d81c8f3384     
  • He's obsessed by computers. 他迷上了电脑。
  • The fear of death obsessed him throughout his old life. 他晚年一直受着死亡恐惧的困扰。
7 ministry kD5x2     
  • They sent a deputation to the ministry to complain.他们派了一个代表团到部里投诉。
  • We probed the Air Ministry statements.我们调查了空军部的记录。
8 cram 6oizE     
  • There was such a cram in the church.教堂里拥挤得要命。
  • The room's full,we can't cram any more people in.屋里满满的,再也挤不进去人了。
9 costly 7zXxh     
  • It must be very costly to keep up a house like this.维修这么一幢房子一定很昂贵。
  • This dictionary is very useful,only it is a bit costly.这本词典很有用,左不过贵了些。
10 statistics iGyzb     
  • We have statistics for the last year.我们有去年的统计资料。
  • Statistics is taught in many colleges.许多大学都教授统计学。
11 schooling AjAzM6     
  • A child's access to schooling varies greatly from area to area.孩子获得学校教育的机会因地区不同而大相径庭。
  • Backward children need a special kind of schooling.天赋差的孩子需要特殊的教育。
12 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
13 standardized 8hHzgs     
  • We use standardized tests to measure scholastic achievement. 我们用标准化考试来衡量学生的学业成绩。
  • The parts of an automobile are standardized. 汽车零件是标准化了的。
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