Mobilities, Transitions, Transformations
INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION AT THE CROSSROADS
Yun Kyung CHA
Dean of the School of Education, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea
Dr. Yun-Kyung CHA is Dean of the School of Education at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea. He is the Immediate Past President of the Korean Association for Multicultural Education (KAME) and as the Editor of its official journal Multicultural Education Review. He has also served as a member of Multicultural Family Policy Commission and of Foreigners’ Policy Committee (both Prime Minister’s Office of Korean Government). He graduated from Seoul National University and received his doctorate in the Sociology of Education at Stanford University (USA) and was awarded a National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship (1991). His research interests focus on comparative and sociological analysis of school curricula, multicultural education, and the institutionalization of teacher education and lifelong education programs. He co-authored several books including School Knowledge for the Masses: World Models and National Primary Curricular Categories in the Twentieth Century (with John Meyer, David Kamens, Aaron Benavot and Suk-Ying Wong). His articles have also appeared in major journals such as American Sociological Review, Sociology of Education, American Journal of Education, Comparative Education Review, Research in the Sociology of Education and Socialization, and Journal of Curriculum Studies.
Revisiting Multicultural Education from an East Asian Perspective
An important aim of multi/intercultural education today is to meet the educational needs of the current period — the period characterized by the increasing consolidation of world society as a unified entity of human existence, coupled with the rapid evolution of socioeconomic globalization. Many countries around the world, especially those with a high level of social and cultural diversity, have adopted some sorts of multicultural education policies and/or curriculum standards. Public policy ideas about education have increasingly integrated multicultural discursive elements such as promoting educational equity while accommodating diversity as taken-for-granted goals of national education systems.
In the meantime, however, a harsh, “uncomfortable truth” about the serious malfunctioning of the modern school system itself has often been neglected. On top of the millions of out-of-school children, today’s schooling systems around the world are not only utterly inept in meeting the diverse learning needs of future citizens of the globalized post-industrial society, but also conducive to the stigmatization of a large proportion of talented students as “losers.” In the “schooled society” where occupational and career opportunities are closely tied with educational success and credentials, schools often become a competitive jungle where only the fittest survive. Students with an immigrant background and those from socioeconomic or cultural minority groups are most liable to be the victims. Without complete redesigning of the current model of schooling, it seems beyond imagination to realize the dream of providing an “inclusive and equitable education for all.”
Drawing largely on the East Asian ontology and epistemology, I propose an alternative approach to schooling called “yungbokhap” model of education. The Korean term yungbokhap means harmonious fusion and integration, roughly translated. The yungbokhap model of education may be conceptualized as an integrative and holistic approach to learning and teaching, not only in terms of classroom practices, but also in terms of administrative and policy arrangements of multiple layers of the educational systems. A new horizon of multi/intercultural education may be explored by nurturing a sustainable ecology of education based on important guiding principles of education, including autonomy, bridgeability, contextuality, and diversity, which I call the ABCDs of yungbokhap education.