South Korea's teenagers are among the worst in the world when it comes to getting along with others, a report showed Sunday, reflecting the country's educational emphasis on knowledge, not interaction.
South Korean teens scored an average of 0.31 out of 1.0 for social interaction skills, ranking the country 35th out of 36 nations that took part in the survey, according to the report by the Korean Educational Development Institute and the National Youth Policy Institute. The report was based on a survey of some 146,000 eighth graders, conducted in 2009 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.
Each nation was assessed in the three areas of relationship promotion, social cooperation and conflict management through surveys of students' participation in local and school communities, their perceptions of community and foreigners, as well as democratic solutions to conflicts, the report said.
South Korean teens scored the lowest among the 36 nations with scores of zero in the two areas -- relationship promotion and social cooperation -- that valued highly voluntary participation in local and school communities.
Their score for conflict management, however, was second only to Denmark at 0.94, thanks to their rich knowledge of possible democratic solutions to conflicts, according to the report.
Teenagers in Thailand had the best social skills with 0.69 points, while Indonesia (0.64), Ireland (0.60), Guatemala (0.59), Britain (0.53) and Chile (0.52) followed closely behind.
"Social interaction skills are linked to the ability to live harmoniously with culturally or socioeconomically different counterparts, so they are very important to teenagers who are the leading players in a globalized and multicultural age," the report said.
"(We must) pay attention to the fact that Korean children scored well only in areas with a strong emphasis on written assessments and performed very poorly in areas related to internal and external activities. There is a need for measures to change the policy on developing knowledge toward nurturing independence," it added.