[Letter to the editor]A modest proposal to raise birth ratesKorea has been experiencing a severe decline in the population growth rate over the past few years. In the past, the government took actions to reduce the rapid population growth rate in Korea, limiting the number of children to two per family.
Nowadays, the Korean government is trying to find ways to increase the birth rate, but the outcome has not been very satisfying. It is still declining, regardless of government actions.
If the government really wants to take control of the birth rate in Korea, it must first recognize the main cause for the decrease and then try to eliminate it.
Most newlyweds choose not to have children for economic reasons. The terrifying expense of raising children makes newlyweds believe they cannot afford to have children. In my perspective, these couples are right. Raising children in Korea requires more money than raising children in most countries.
Just providing for the children’s education is overwhelming for many parents. The Korean government offers both public and private schools, but there is really no point in having public and private schools because there is hardly any difference between them.
Unlike other countries, Korea’s public and private schools have about the same tuition fees. Therefore, sending a child to a public school does not necessarily mean paying less for the child’s education.
Since there is no way out of the immense education payments, newlyweds prefer not to have children. In order for the population to rise, the government needs to start providing real public education, meaning no tuition fees in public schools.
By providing a distinct difference between the fees at private and public schools, parents would be able to choose to which school they would like to send their children. This would free parents from the burden of having to pay high education fees. However, the elimination of tuition at public schools should not mean changing the education system for those schools.
The public schools need to provide just as good an education as the private schools. If there were no difference in what the schools provide, newlyweds would be freed from the burden of extreme education payments, thus removing a reason not to have any children.
After the government eliminates the cause of the low birth rates, the population will start to increase again and Korea will not have to worry about declining population.
GiHie Lydia Che, a senior at Chungshin Girls High School in Seoul