Education: driving force for, or the hidden inhibitor of the equality of opportunity

Coming all the way across the ocean, plunging into unfamiliar settings, and devising academic projects in a tongue that is not of my own … this wasn’t all too easy. Think I mentioned this…., but again, realizing how ‘alien’ I am, I gradually lost self-confidence. Whenever I said something, it felt like people were eying me, whispering how awkward I sounded. My stuttering comments seemed to disrupt the flows of conversation in class. Slowly, I turned into a hermit, trying to avoid any long talks or active involvement. Well, to tell the truth, I AM an alien, a foreigner. Nothing wrong about that – others will find themselves in the same shoes if they were to come study in Korea, right? But still, it wasn’t fun. That feeling, that there’s an invisible wall blocking others from fully understanding me, something caught in my throat…

Locked up in that excruciating loneliness, I used to wonder whether this is how physically handicapped people would feel like, all the time, wherever they went. Sound too grandiose, histrionic even? I’m not saying I’d completely understand the agony and pain of being physically disadvantaged, oh no, that’d be too bold and inconsiderate, I’m not saying that at all…. Please don’t take me wrong, but come to think of it, I feel a certain sense of empathy there…. I was handicapped, in a different sense – maybe not physically, but linguistically, culturally. What pained me wasn’t the lack or inconvenience, but all the opportunities I had to forego because of such shortcomings. Won’t a boy sitting in a wheelchair feel the same, watching all his friends running around playing basketball?

Speaking of opportunities: although equality of opportunity may be the ideal motto of education, reality doesn’t always follow this line of logic. Rich kids are granted more chances for better education, while the socially disadvantaged are too busy fending for their lives. Wealth and power sustains the social hierarchy, education acting as its faithful tool. I’ve no opposition to those who make more efforts taking a larger portion of priorities, but it’s such a pity that some people out there aren’t even given a chance to make such efforts.

Well, time wares on, and the world changes in accordance… education as well, as part of it. Unilateral conveyance of knowledge no longer applies, as children are exposed to a wider context of reality through the web, learning how to write lively language through blogs and interact with other kids on the opposite side of the globe watching and posting YouTube videos. The internet has revolutionalized the institution of education – experiences are brought to life, no longer confined to pages of old books and the words of an authoritative teacher.

But, there still remains a blind spot. Somewhere and someone not reached and touched even by the ubiquitous, all mighty force of the web – the poor, the socially disadvantaged. No money, no internet connection. No time to mirthfully surf through websites, too busy washing dishes and earning daily bread. A fair share of the population remains outside the wonders of technical progress, and therefore is deprived of any opportunity to rise above the given abjection.

This being a systematical problem, and there always being shadows where there is light, such problems will persist as long as mankind exists. There’s a certain limit to what one can do.. although we may try. Depressing.. but that’s reality.

But, there still is ‘something’ we can do, what ViiKii can do to further equality of educational opportunity – helping those who are blocked from accessing the infinite treasuries of the world wide web, due to language barriers. It can hardly be denied that a greater part of online documents / web pages are composed in English, which means that people who come from a non-English speaking background are innately disadvantaged. The Julus in Africa inevitably suffer lack of available sources compared to Americans; the same would apply to most third-world nations, where technical progress benefits those stationed in the upper strata of the social hierarchy, who can freely use main-stream languages. Hence the vicious cycle, the poor and therefore uneducated reproducing itself generation after generation.

What ViKi aims to achieve, is to act as a breakthrough in this very aspect. Widen linguistic horizons, offer opportunities to access a greater variety of knowledge to those kept hostage by linguistic barriers. Become a platform for cultural interaction, bilateral education, enhancing educational opportunities. This isn’t mere naivety, or some immature dream vision of an idealist. ViKi can make this happen –not in itself, but with YOUR help.


20 Responses to “Education: driving force for, or the hidden inhibitor of the equality of opportunity”

  1. Raison Says:

    Hi, Jiwon! I am so excited to see ViiKii finally coming out. I believe this project will change the world!

  2. JiWon Says:

    Thank you so much for your encouragement. Yes! we will change the world!!

  3. Linda Says:

    Good job, Jiwon. Look at Viikii now. Just discovered your site and BTW your english language is excellent. Compared to some of the boys and girls, I need to place an oxygen tank next to me to breath after reading their comments. I thanked you sincerely for creating this site for us who love Asian drama with english subtitles to watch. I in fact have been learning the Korean language over the past 2 years by watching these dramas, improve quite a bit with some assistance of a good Korean friend of mine.
    Keep up the good work and also my thanks to those subbers.

  4. Pirsey Says:

    Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is more than I expected when I stumpled upon a link on Delicious telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

  5. Beauty_In_the_Nature Says:

    Very impressive Jiwon. You are one of a kind, who see the world with an open minded. After reading through your postings and your background, you are very ambitious person and yes, your English is perfect. I wish I could write like you 🙂 I guess, we who are not lucky enough to be born and raise in an English speaking tongue always find it hard and isolated at first. Your stories were very captivated and it makes me want to read more and more. Thanks for produced such a great piece of work (viikii). Please keep up with your good work, it is a rewarding to you and appreciation from us all.

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  11. Sunshine Says:

    Very farsighted thinking. I am sure your not the first person experiencing cultural shock and language problem. Every Asian goes through it, when they visit west. Whatsoever, the good part is humanbeings can perform miracle and can over all this barriers. I am glad that you atleast show your outlet via this blog.

    Keep it up.

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  15. Beccah Says:

    I can see what you are saying though I’ve not personally experienced it. When my son-in-law moved to the US from SK it was a new world for him. He’d been here for several months before as a college student but this was a long term job he was coming for. My daughter began as his English teacher and they quickly discovered that their relationship was going to progress much farther than that.

    Our family embraced him and found various ways of helping him learn our language. I have spent the last 4 years learning about the culture and the last year and a half trying to pick up the language. Unfortunately they live in a different state so he can’t really teach me much and there are no universities in my area that teach it so it’s up to me. They are now married and I have my first grandchild.

    Thank you so much for Viikii!!!!

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  17. Jasmin Rice Says:

    Thank you.

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  18. isabella Says:

    hola viikii amo tu canal ,solo que ahora hay ciertas series que no puedo ver nunca te habia escrito para saludarte porque como hablo y escribo solo el espanol puedo leer ingles un poco pero no omo el espanol me guataria que me dijieras como puedo arreglar este problema hace mucho tiempo que te sigo soy en viikii NATHASHA63 por favor ayudame please help me please….un gran saludo

  19. Karissa Trezise Says:

    good stuff. Do you have a RSS feed? And would it be cool if I added in your feed to a blog of mine? I have a site that draws content out of RSS feeds by a number of websites and I’d like to include yours, a lot of people don’t mind because I link back and everything but I like to get approval 1st. Anyhow let me know if you could, thanks.

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    Education: driving force for, or the hidden inhibitor of the equality of opportunity | THE ViiKii STORY

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