I am a huge fan of the original School. Min-jae and her gang are still dear to me, and Mr. Shin and other teachers at Donggwang High come to mind when guidance and comfort are sought. Not only were the people of Donggwang appealing as individuals, but they also defined for me friendship and respect in human terms. So I was really excited for the return of the School series.
If I had naturally identified with the students and could distinguish fact from drama as a teen watching School and School 2, this time, I often found myself wondering what it feels like to be in school in 2013, and if there are so many ills, what prevents them from getting fixed for the longest time. What causes teachers, parents and schools to teach students to mercilessly compete, study strictly to test well while compensating friendship and respect.
A lot has changed. Some are obvious, like the school uniforms that have gotten shorter and gained ribbons. Untitle’s opening for School and 4Minute’s “Welcome to School” also sound different. What has not changed may be the belief that there is a future to school because it’s where kids are. That may be why shows like this are returning and EBS continues to produce documentaries that further our understanding of school and education.