Cut the cost of cramming

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Cut the cost of cramming

The Korean government has introduced a strong policy in an attempt to control the unreasonably expensive fees charged by cram schools. With the new policy, the tuition rates for all such schools will be posted on the Internet for everyone to see starting next year. Fees for teaching materials and supplementary lessons also have to be included in the total tuition. If the institutes make false reports, they will be severely punished.

In addition, when students or their parents pay the fees, each institute is required to issue a receipt, in an effort to prevent tax evasion. This is a step in the right direction. The policy shows that the government intends to put a stop to overly expensive tuition.

In Korea, many parents of students are struggling under the weight of high academy tuitions. Even if they must sacrifice in other areas, they don’t try to cut down on education expenditures. Such are typical Korean parents.

The numbers explain the true nature of Korean parents. According to the Bank of Korea, in the first half of the year, each family’s total spending decreased due to the economic slump, but educational expenses still exceeded 15 trillion won. That represents a 9.1 percent increase over last year’s first half. In addition, 6.2 percent of each family’s total spending was on education.

As the global economic crisis continues, we can’t be sure how long parents must endure the heavy cost of education. People can’t give up eating due to education fees.

So this policy should immediately provide satisfactory results. If all goes well, the tuition for cram schools will fall.

Similar plans proved to be nothing but a bluff during past administrations. But this time, the policy should produce real results.

The education authorities and other government offices - such as the Ministry of Justice, the National Police Agency, the National Tax Service and the Fair Trade Commission - all have to work together. Parents are counting on the help of the government.

We know that improving the quality of public education is a fundamental measure in reducing the expenses caused by private education. The government should do its best to change the overall perception that cram schools are necessary by making parents feel comfortable with public education. They should reform the system so that sending a child to a public school is sufficient. The government must not give up on this issue, because school expenses are too much of a burden in Korea.

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