Private Learning Institutes Launch Cyber TutorialsPrivate learning institutes, known as "hagwon" in Korea, have launched a 'cyberbattle' in the war to win customers. Judging that offering educational content is one of the surest ways to reap profits online, an increasing number of hagwons are opening Internet sites and competing to recruit members.
Jongro Academy and Daesung Academy are among the leading learning institutes in Korea that offer lessons to prepare students for highly competitive college entrance examinations. Jongro Academy established an affiliated company called Irunet and began to offer free services on June 1. It currently offers content on every school subject, including English and mathematics, for primary and secondary school students (freshmen and juniors). The members are offered 30 minutes of summarized information every day in step with their classwork progress, take a mock weekly and monthly College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), and can compare scores with other students across the nation.
Irunet began to recruit members on June 15 through online evaluation - accpeting only 30 percent of applicants - and currently boasts about 300 members. Irunet targets junior high and high school students who find the average monthly tutoring fee of 250,000 won ($225) to attend a hagwon a financial burden. Irunet director Yoo Ki-joong said that the company plans to "collect fees for mock CSATs and score evaluations," and added that it will offer cyber lectures through moving images when it attains a greater transmission capacity.
Daesung Academy established Digital Daesung with 20 employees and began to offer Internet information on college entrance on May 20. It now has 20,000 members. Although access to the site is free, members have to pay 5,000 won ($4.50) for the monthly mock CSAT. Credit cards are the only means to pay now, but an electronic currency will be accepted starting next month. Digital Daesung boasts detailed information on education, including press data from the Ministry of Education. It plans to offer all types of mock tests, lectures, and instructions on essay composition in the future. Digital Daesung President Choi Chin-young said, "Ultimately, we are striving to offer online private tutoring lessons."
Jung-il Future Academy also launched an Internet business preparatory team, and will open a website in mid-July when the summer vacation begins. Team leader Park Kwan-ho said that his team would "make most of the know-how acquired by managing a cyber academy with online service provider Unitel in affiliation with the Seoul National University's Education College and Samsung SDS." He added that the company plans to offer customized online lessons to nurture individual aptitude and special skills by moving away from the CSAT-oriented lessons.