Excellent article from the Financial Times about Korea’s inefficient education system and how it ties into Korea’s economy and society.

Here are some slices:

South Korea has some of the world’s most over-educated bakers. In one class in Seoul teaching muffin and scone-making, there are graduates in Russian, fine art and animation. For South Korean parents, the world’s highest spenders on their children’s education, something is going horribly wrong.

[…]

Over-education has become a crippling financial drain on Asia’s fourth biggest economy. South Korean families mire themselves in debt and burn more than 3 per cent of gross domestic product on night schools and crammers dedicated exclusively to passing formulaic university entrance examinations.

[…]

To combat these weaknesses in the system, South Korea has launched “Meister schools” hoping to train master craftsmen in the German model. Under a pilot scheme, there are 21 such schools, increasing to 50 by 2012.

I think the idea of developing “master craftsman” trade association and school systems, like Germany, is very interesting.