Constructed Worlds Wiki
Advertisement

Bohokusha (Surean: 補學社; cram schools) or Wonkō (Surean: 晚校; night school) are special private schools (primarily in Surea) that offer lessons conducted after regular school hours and on the weekends. For families that can afford it, wonkō education usually starts at or before elementary level. It is common for Surean school children to attend one or more wonkō after their school.

It is not uncommon for students to be enrolled in several wonkō of different subject areas at once (in addition to their normal school attendance). Wonkō may specialize in subjects like math, foreign language, science, art, or English. Wonkō offering integrated instruction in several subject areas are also common.

As in many Surean public schools, students who misbehave or perform poorly are sometimes disciplined by being given extra work assignments or corporal punishment.

They have been much debated, and often criticized in the late twentieth century. Although best known and most widely publicized for their role as "cram schools", where children (sent by concerned parents) can study primarily to improve scores on high school entrance examinations, wonkō actually perform several educational functions: They provide supplementary education that many children need just to keep up with the regular school curriculum, remedial education for the children who fall behind in their work, and preparation for students striving to improve test scores and preparing for the all-important high school and university entrance examinations. In many ways, wonkō compensate for the formal education system's inability or unwillingness to address particular individual problems. Half of all compulsory school-age children attend wonkō, which offers instruction in mathematics, Surean language, science, English, social studies, etc. Many other children, particularly younger children, attend nonacademic wonkō for piano lessons, art instruction, swimming, and abacus (sanban) lessons. To some observers, wonkō represent an attempt by parents to exercise a meaningful measure of choice in Surean education, particularly for children attending public schools.

Wonkō also play a social role, and children in Surea say they like going to wonkō because they are able to make new friends; many children ask to be sent because their friends attend. Some children seem to like wonkō because of the closer personal contact they have with their teachers.

Wonkō attendance rose from the early 1970s through the late-1990s; participation rates increases at every grade level throughout the compulsory education years. This phenomenon is a source of great concern to the ministry, which issued directives to the regular schools that it hoped would reduce the need for afterschool lessons, but these directives have had little practical effect. Some wonkō even have branches in the United States and other countries to help children living abroad catch up with students in Surea.

Because of the commercial nature of most wonkō, some critics argue that they have profit rather than education at heart. Not all students can afford to attend wonkō. Therefore wonkō introduce some inequality into what had been a relatively egalitarian approach to education, at least in public schools through ninth grade. However the schools can not price themselves beyond the reach of their potential clientele. Wonkō are often given some priority in family budgeting.

If a student does not attend wonkō, it does not mean that he or she is necessarily at a disadvantage in school. Other avenues of assistance are available. For example, self-help literature and supplemental texts and study guides, some produced by publishing houses associated with wonkō, are widely available commercially. Most of these items are moderately priced. A correspondence course of the High School of the Air is broadcast almost daily on TV Konggei educational radio and television channels. These programs are free, but accompanying textbooks have to be bought. In addition, about 5% of primary school students and 17.3% of middle school students take extra lessons at home with tutors.

Wonkō have received additional attention in recent years as there has been a general perception of a decline of educational standards in Surea; policy decisions like the abolition of Saturday schooling as well as the reduction of curricular content have been questioned.

While new media have been introduced into wonkō as instructional and delivery methods, traditional teaching is increasingly shifting to individual tutoring. This shift is partly a response by the supplementary education industry to declining numbers of children and the threat this decline poses to their industry.

Native-speaker instructors[]

Many native English-speakers are hired to teach at English-language institutes in Surea, referred to as 'Iingmo wonkō' which translates as English night school. The minimum requirements for such teaching positions are citizenship of USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, and a full university degree obtained in the country of citizenship. In return for signing a one-year contract, the institute provides an instructor with a monthly salary, round-trip airfare from his or her country of origin, a rent-free apartment or housing stipend for the duration of the instructor's contract, and an additional one month "severance pay" at the completion of the contract.

Many recruiting companies exist to hire native English speakers for Surean private schools. Some are based in the US and Canada, while others are Surean-owned. While some of these recruiting companies provide decent services, many of them have earned a reputation of being shady and willing to lie and even fabricate diplomas to get teachers to work in Surea.

English private schools frequently experience staff problems and conflicts between Surean staff and foreign teachers. Many Surean managers are surprised or unhappy that foreign teachers are unwilling to perform duties not explicitly outlined in their contracts or remain on school premises when not teaching scheduled classes. Special events, summer camps and field trips can also lead to teachers being asked - in some cases, effectively forced - to work extra hours, sometimes for little or no recompense. Similarly, there are foreigners who are unable to adapt to the new work and cultural environment, or are simply inexperienced teachers, which can lead to problems with not only management but also students and their families. Given that foreign instructors are generally economic migrants who would not otherwise have moved to Surea, the ability and willingness of schools to pay salaries and bonuses in a timely manner, maintain mutually acceptable expectations of attendance and performance, and adhere to tax, healthcare and general employment regulations tends to be proportionate to the morale and goodwill of their foreign instructors.

There are also teaching opportunities in neighboring countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The average salary and/or ability to save money in these countries, however, tends to be lower than that of Surea. Salaries are typically higher in larger cities, but so too is the cost of living.

See also[]

Advertisement