<The 10th English Essay Contest>
Campus Culture and Anarchy
By Lee Suk-yeon (1st winner)
Anarchy is a state of society in which social norms and enforcement of such norms are absent. Society in anarchy, in the strictest sense, is no society at all. Although the campus culture in Korea cannot be defined as a society of complete anarchy, it does however, have the tendency of such state.
2.1 Definition of Anarchy in an Institution of Higher Education
The primary purpose and obligation of an institution of higher education such as universities, is to teach its students knowledge and socialize them to social standards of the highly educated. From that perspective, an institution of higher education has the responsibility to maintain social order, to socialize students and to encourage, or at least, force them to learn. Thus, an anarchical state in an institution of higher education is to be defined as the absence of socialization and the pursuance of truth.
Socialization is a necessary and an obligatory part of life in being born and grown up in a society, or in a broader sense, civilization. It is what academics refer to as ‘social contract’. As being successfully socialized, the person earns the privileges to benefits and protection that a society has to offer. Beyond society, by further socialization, the person may earn the privilege to a higher class of society. Such ‘further socialization’ could be defined as having greater tolerance to morally inadequate behavior and greater sense of responsibility. In other words, it is the ability to stay ‘socialized’ in the absence of external influence, such as law enforcement. Such socialization is necessary to those who are to acquire knowledge from the institutions and take important roles in society.
Unfortunately, such a standard of socialization is not met in the Korean institutions. Without strict supervision, students often cheat on tests and reports. It is an indication that the previous educational institutions, from elementary to high schools, and the most important of all, the family, have failed to socialize students to the point where they are excessively dependant on external control and influence. It is also an indication that much more strict authority and supervision is in need for fair competition.
2.3 Pursuance of Truth
The institution of higher education, or the highest education, and as the pinnacle of truth, has the obligation to try its best to provide the students and society with what is closest to the truth, While socialization is heavily dependant on the institution’s efforts, pursuance of truth on the other hand has mutual dependency on both the student and the institution.
Although most professors are very enthusiastic in their pursuance of truth, they sometimes fail to pass it on. Just telling students what they know and marking tests for grades are only a fraction of what they are supposed to do. What they also should be doing is to provide feedback to students to correct what they perceive as the truth. Such work can simply be done by correcting and returning reports and tests to students, or at least point out the common or significantly wrongful mistakes in class. In regard to this issue, however, there is a serious limit to its implementation, since many professor-student ratios in Korea are simply hopeless.
Even if the university may provide its students with excellent education, such opportunity is completely useless without their will to learn. Many students in Korea seem to study under external influences, such as grades, which mean that they have no particular interest in the virtue of truth and research. This could be more of a Hak-ber problem in which students select better schools regardless to their desired fields of study. To some students, who have interest in the problematic government agent tests(go-see), education of the institution becomes completely irrelevant. Without the internal influence, in this case, motivation, the primary purpose of the institution to provide its students the truth and for the students to pursue truth, is seriously undermined. In a similar perspective, the Latin motto of Winchester College comes to mind ? “aut disce aut discede,” which means “either learn or leave.”
2.4 Minor tendencies of anarchy
Beyond the major purposes of an institution of higher education and its students, there are many tendencies of anarchy in the campus culture in Korea. A primary example is the student council. A student council is an organization to exclusively represent the students with complete respects to the students’ interests. However, many student councils in Korea seem to be the People’s Council rather than what it should be. Also, their methods of demonstrations can be accurately defined as barbaric and uncivilized. Regardless of cause, no deviation, or the tendency of anarchy, in the basic social order can be justified. There are more realistic and civilized ways of pursuing such causes, such as participating in community services where much help and support are in need. At least, it does much more good to society than hassling the busy streets and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.
Of course, such activity should not be a part of the student council’s agenda. The government, and if not them, the legitimate NGOs, are there to strive for a better society for the people, by the people, and with the people. In accordance, the student council should be for the students, by the students, and with the students.
The campus culture of Korea has tendencies of anarchy in the two major purposes and obligations, which are socialization and pursuance of truth. Also an example of many other minor tendencies of anarchy has been given, the student council.
An institution of higher education is the doorway to a higher class of society. In such a class of society, greater social responsibility is endowed upon, which requires greater socialization and professional knowledge. If there is much deviation, or tendency of anarchy, in such obligations of the institutions and its students, the society to which they belong and lead has a doomed future.
Lee Suk-yeon firstname.lastname@example.org
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