Monday, June 30, 2014

One-of-a-Kind Classroom Experience

Imagine going to high school knowing once you graduated you would have a job, no debt from college loans, no stress in not knowing what to do once you got a college degree, no delay in starting a career. How awesome would that be? 

Here in the Republic of Korea students are given a chance to step away from the mainstream of universities and have the chance to step out of their secondary school (high school) with a certificate in a technical skill and have a job waiting for them straight out of high school. 

One of the race horses produced
by the school
The Meister school system is a new take on traditional education. After middle school students currently have the option to apply to one of 35 specially designed trade schools known as Meister Schools. The application process varies from each one however academic grades are necessary. Studies are showing that up to 50% of Korean graduates are unable to find full time jobs in their field of choice creating an overflow of over-qualified workers into the blue collar workforce. Meister schools are taking on the duty to provided highly qualified workers for certain trades. One of the ways a Meister school ensures that all students have a career is they only allow as many students in as the job market allows for. That way the demand is met with out over-flowing the job market with a large supply of workers. 

Look at that view!
One of the horses in the school's
breeding programs.
The Korea Horseman High School was one of our stops today. The school had breath taking facilities, friendly educators, and eager students. Being the one and only Equine Industry Meister High School in the Republic of Korea this Meister school is truly one-of-a-kind. 

After a short video presentation we got a real feel of what the school was all about. We took a quick tour of the facilities and got to meet a few of the 85 students. 

The most shocking detail of the school's population for me was that out of the 85 enrolled students only 19 were females. This means on average there are 5 girls in each of the four grade levels. After learning more about the culture as well as the application process which includes two parts physical fitness and academic success it became clear why their were mainly male students. Looking towards the future like most the school is currently undergoing construction to add female dormitories. At this time the equine industry is not very demanding in the Republic of Korea, however the opportunities for employment around the globe are in high demand. The school is looking to expand and grow at this point in time for every three students who apply only one is excepted into the program.

Students giving their horses a bath
after the classroom instruction!
Watch the video below.
The Korea Horseman High School originally opened its doors in 1969 as an animal husbandry school and after the rural population decreasing and the need for the school enrollment dropped drastically. The school went through more changes and then in 2012 became the 7th Meister school to open its doors specializing in the equine industry. 
Reflecting back on our adventure today I would really enjoy seeing more schools like these in the United States. How cool would it be to go to a school to a high school where you learned how to train horses, manage your own breeding facility, or learn the skills to become a farrier, or equine therapist? All of these career paths are offered here to students giving them hands on experience for the careers they desire! 

For more information on the Meister school we visited Click here 

And for a quick read on the education reform in the Republic of Korea

Now this is my kind of classroom! Students ride
about 2-4 hrs a day, this is the open
classroom the teacher in the middle gives instruction to his small class

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