The July 11-July 17 Edition of BusinessWeek reports that South Korea’s President, Lee Myung Bak, wants to cease holding school on two Saturday’s a month – a tradition since the 1950s (read South Koreans Balk at Saturdays Without School). Parents are not happy, nor, in the BusinessWeek report, are they complacent. If this happens, it is likely that a majority of students will shift from public to private Saturday education, shoring up private sector operators like MegaStudy or JLS (peek into another BusinessWeek story for the implications of a MegaStudy model: Where A Teacher Can Make Millions).
The American propensity for leisure may be part of our competitive issue. We have shifted our competitive nature to each other rather than the rest of the world. We take our kids to soccer fields and baseball diamonds and Lacrosse fields on Saturdays, not, for the most part, to school. We ask our children to beat the kids in the other neighborhood, not outthink the kids in Korea. In the past we earned our right to leisure time by out competing the world on almost everything. Perhaps it is time for us to re-earn our right to take time off.