|▲ Kim Eun-hae, Researcher of Sejong Social Science Research Institute|
It is estimated that school dropouts have reached 15,176 in Gyeonggi Province as of 2018. Taking the matter seriously, the province announced to invest US$8.362 million to support school dropouts. Experts point out bully, violence and rip off as some of the main causes for dropout and it requires national level support and solutions. Monthly <Power Korea> met Kim Eun-hae, Researcher of Sejong Social Science Research Institute, to hear the problems and solutions. Kim received the 2019 Korea Future Brand & Individual Awards in recognition of contributing to social welfare research.
“Removing the causes is more important than disciplinary actions”
Bully and violence issues in school are nothing new to media. From simple bullies to serious violence and even murder, we are shocked by the news how cruel youth can be once they are involved in the bad incidents whether they want it or not. This has caused a controversy whether the youth violence law should be stricter. It is true that violence and crime cannot be justified and the responsible should be punished according to the law. But why it has become a controversy is because they are ‘teenagers’. We need to think about whether stricter law can fundamentally prevent youth violence and crime. Talking of the responsibility, the society and the school cannot avoid the blame on this. So, what is more important is to remove any possible causes that can inflict violence and crime than put a harsher disciplinary action.
“National level protection system is needed”
The government needs to increase the youth welfare budget as well as the number of youth welfare specialists. Also, the government needs to introduce a national level protection system for school dropouts. We must note that the younger the students are the more possibility they have to be drawn into bad actions and incidents. Yet they can also easily be seeing the seriousness of their actions and improve themselves as long as effective education and guide are provided by specialists. Alongside this system, the Korea’s serious ‘college-exam-driven’ education system must be changed. Its goal is not to educate students but to be used as a tool to have a better paid job. For this, society and family also must change and questions themselves what is more important in educating their children?
“Advanced prevention programs must be introduced”
The Netherlands, for example, runs TRUANCY, as absence without notice-prevention program. The US, for another example, runs PATHE (Positive Action Through Holistic Education) to prevent juvenile delinquency. Again, removing the causes of the problems is more important than disciplinary actions. Everybody goes through the teenage period and some luckily pass it without any serious damages and some unluckily fall into regretful consequences. It is our role, therefore, to establish systems that can minimize the regretful consequences.
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