[Book Review] Meritocracy: The Future Society and Our Education 1 & 2

This book review presents a critical examination of the South Korean education system’s paradoxical and contradictory nature. The system emphasizes standardization over self-discovery, as children conform to the standards of the “grade-class-standardized curriculum” and become standardized themselves. The university entrance exam system, which relies on standardized tests, is particularly concerning as it drives future generations into the trap of standardization.

The current corporate world and industry are like a battlefield for “creative innovation” – creating something new. In the past, companies succeeded by deploying “standardized personnel” who were faithful to given tasks, cheaper, better, and faster through “productive innovation” – improving what already existed. However, this formula for success through productive innovation is no longer valid. Now, “disruptive innovation” – completely changing the order and structure of existing industries and markets through new technologies, knowledge, business models, and organizational operations – has become commonplace.

This shift in demand necessitates a change in the education system, as the current university admission system promotes a “queueing” style of education that harms the competitiveness of companies and industries and the nation as a whole. Research shows that a person’s creative innovation capabilities are largely determined during their primary education in elementary and middle school programs. Still, children and adolescent students in South Korea are deeply entrenched in the “trap of standardization,” which ultimately results in a lack of competitiveness in the “battlefield of creative innovation.”

The author suggests that to succeed in the “battlefield of creative innovation,” individuals must maximize their potential through diverse experimental experiences and challenges. Thus, the education system needs to shift towards a “transformative education” that encourages individuals to dream, achieve their goals, and surpass their potential and possibilities. This change is crucial at all levels of education, including kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school, university, and even in the corporate world. Instead of focusing on training people to comply with predetermined orders, we must prioritize individual growth and development.

Overall, this book review provides valuable insight into the issues plaguing the South Korean education system and the need for significant change to overcome the trap of standardization. The review emphasizes the importance of leadership and national decision-making in creating an alternative that prioritizes self-discovery and individuality in education.

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