Arirang News
  Updated : 2015-11-12 14:27:32 KST
Students, with their own dreams, choose not to take College Scholastic Aptitude Test
The day before the annual College Scholastic Ability Test in Korea, high schools usually allow students to return home earlier than usual so that they can get their rest and make last-minute preparations for the next day's exam.

But not all schools.
At this particular boarding school, it's still not "lights out" yet as students hone their
mechanical skills well into the night.

This is one of Korea's Meister High Schools - a special kind of vocational school designed to provide students educational experiences tailored to the needs of their respective industries.

This one, in particular, specializes in the fields of automobile and mechanical manufacturing.
Most students from this school head straight into the workforce upon graduation.

"I didn't come to this high school to go to college. I came so that I can get a job. So even if other students take the college entrance exam for me, learning the skills and getting certification as soon as I can, are more important."

"Meister High School students train and study for certification as much as the other students prepare for their college entrance exams. It's my dream to become a master in my field."

There are other options for students who opt to enter the workforce instead of pursuing college education.
They could take classes in hair styling and make-up at private academies like this beauty academy in Seoul.

"My mom recommended that I try out a career in the beauty industry. I started because I really wanted to learn make-up and also because I felt that it would be better to start working right away instead of going to college."

"Students in middle school and high school decide on their dreams early on in life and come to the academy with their parents to see what it's like."

It's true.
Many high school seniors who decided not to take the college entrance exam today have their own goals in life and these institutions help them get closer to achieving their dreams.

"Escaping the typical decision of going to college, some brave high school students in Korea are choosing, on their own will, to go straight into joining the workforce.
And luckily for them, Korea's educational policies are becoming more dynamic, like allowing them to work and study at the same time."

Currently, the country's education and labor ministries jointly operate nine test institutions as 'dual apprenticeship schools' where high school students can go to work for a couple days a week, or for a set period of the year and study at school for the rest.

"The policy of simultaneous work and study will be established in line with the direction of 'employment first, college later.'"

The ministries plan to expand the joint project to a total of 60 institutions by next year and then implement the co-op system at all vocational schools in Korea by 2017.

"In Korea, it's the schools that train these Meisters. In other countries, the industries assume that role. The curriculum at Korea's meister schools invests a lot of time in providing professional training on skills that can be used at the workplace."

This year, out of the 4-hundred 80-thousand high school seniors in Korea, roughly one-hundred-and-20 thousand did not apply to take the C.S.A.T., or the College Scholastic Ability Test.

"I would say that in seven to eight years, everyone will go to college. BUT the difference is that students may choose to take two to three years after graduating high school before they move on."

As more students find their ideal jobs and career paths outside the conventional classroom Korea's educational policies are also evolving to better accommodate and nurture their growths in becoming professionals in their field of expertise.
Lee Soo-eun, Arirang News.
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