Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 20

SKorea leads exam-mad Asia in tutoring obsession

By Huileng Tan

On this day every year, life in South Korea comes to a halt.

The country's high school students are taking their college entrance exam, which means the stock market and offices open later to ensure students don't get stuck in traffic, planes are grounded for about 40 minutes, the military stop conducting drills. This year, the central bank also delayed its interest rate decision for an hour.

It's all a reflection of South Korea's extreme focus on academic excellence; its private tutoring industry is worth about $20 billion a year.

The journey to scholastic excellence starts young. More than 80 percent of elementary students received private tutoring in 2014, according to the Korean Statistical Information Service. This proportion falls to 69 percent by middle school and 50 percent for high school students.

"Parents may invest early in tutoring to get a head start, especially in stratified school systems," said Professor Mark Bray, a research authority on private tutoring at the University of Hong Kong.

Full story at CNBC (November 2015)

Junior high school graduates dominate Indonesia workforce


Junior high school and lower-level graduates dominate the labor market in Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world.

Manpower Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri said it would take a long time for the country to get a workforce with a better level of education. The situation could create problems for the country in building more competitive industries.

“We need to establish cooperation between the government and businesspeople, as well as workers, to improve the quality of our human resources. That is why I always mention the importance of competency upgrades,” said Hanifin a press statement as quoted by on Wednesday.

Full story at The Jakarta Post (November 2015)

Parents' fury after six-year-old children were asked to write about 'what p***** you off' for their homework

• Young children at Bishop King Primary School in Lincoln were given bizarre     homework exercise to help their handwriting
• They were told to describe 'what p***** you off' on the worksheet
• Shocked parents complained about the inappropriate language
• The school has now been forced to apologise for exposing children to the swear    word

By Hugo Gye

Parents have been left furious after a whole class of six-year-olds were given a homework assignment telling them to describe 'what p***** you off'.

Bishop King Primary School in Lincoln has been forced to apologise for the rude language, which was included in an exercise designed to help the children practice handwriting.

One father said he was 'devastated and shocked' to see the inappropriate exercise given to his young son by teachers.

Furious: Jay McCulley and Jade Dixon were disgusted when their son Mason, right, was told to write down 'what p***** you off' for a homework exercise

List: The extraordinary instruction was contained in a handwriting exercise, pictured

The exercise sheet contained 25 different questions, asking the children to write down phrases such as their favourite number, parents' names and the country where they were born.

However, it appeared to have been adapted from a list intended for adults or much older children - because one item told them: 'Handwrite what p***** you off'.

Full story at Mail Online (December 2015)

Virginia county closes schools as Islam assignment prompts backlash

By Gary Robertson

Schools in a Virginia county closed on Friday as a safety precaution after a class assignment asking students to practice Arabic calligraphy using a Muslim statement of faith sparked an angry outcry from parents and threats against school officials.

Augusta County Public Schools officials said no specific threat had been made against students, but some calls and emails received by the district posed a risk of harm to school officials.

The outcry appeared to reflect anxiety and distrust of Muslims among some Americans following a Dec. 2 shooting that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, by a married couple inspired by militant Islamism and attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people.

Some messages to the Virginia school district contained profane and graphic content, including a call to behead the teacher who gave the assignment, Augusta County Sheriff Randy Fisher said.

Others threatened large protests on or near school property in the district, located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley about 150 miles (240 km) southwest of Washington, officials said.

The Arabic text, according to the News Leader newspaper, translated as "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah."

Some parents have accused the teacher, Cheryl LaPorte, of trying to indoctrinate students with Islam and are calling for her to be fired.

"I do not trust her to teach my son and regardless of the outcome he will not sit in her classroom," mother Kimberly Herndon said in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 300 times.

Full story at Reuters (December 2015)

South Korean Government To Monitor Students Who've Been Absent From School From Over a Week To Avoid Possible Domestic Abuse

Children who will be absent from school for more than a week will be monitored by social workers under a new enactment. (Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)

By Therese Agcopra

Following the harrowing case in Incheon this week of an 11-year-old child being confined and abused by his father at home for more than two years, the South Korean government has taken the initiative to launch a special investigation nationwide to monitor all students that have been absent for over a week.

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Welfare agreed to enact a measure that will impose mandatory inspects of the homes of students who've been absent from school for more than seven days without justifiable reason, Korea Times reported Wednesday.

Under this arrangement, social workers will visit homes of students who have been absentees. Further details about the measure will be decided by both ministries in forthcoming meetings.

"Normally, when a child is absent for no specific reason for more than a week, a teacher is required to call his or her parents," Kim Il Yeol of the Division of Child Rights at the Ministry of Welfare said. "Following the case in Incheon, we plan to visit the homes of all schoolchildren who haven't showed up to school for more than a week to make sure they are not being abused at home."

The victim in Incheon attended an elementary school in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, but stopped going by the latter half of 2012. The father and his girlfriend, together with the child, moved to a new residence, making it difficult for the teacher to check on the child's status.

According to The Korea Herald, the 11-year-old child escaped his father's house on Dec. 12. She was found barefoot and weighing only 16 kilograms and standing at 120 centimeters tall. She is currently being treated at a hospital.

Full story at Korea Portal (December 2015)