[Letters] Hagwon reform now or neverThe Korean government and the country’s ruling party announced more measures to reduce private education costs. Despite the economic crisis, Korea’s private education costs have increased. In fact, South Korea’s spending on education was the highest among the OECD countries.
This new approach would help Korea to reduce the cost of private education in the future. 60% of Korean students currently have private education. Most of the most prestigious academies and private tutors are located in Gangnam, Daechi-dong. Students from the countryside even come to Daechi-dong just to attend private academies during holidays. They go back home after midnight from hagwon (private academy) and often go past midnight during testing seasons.
After the ban on private teaching institutes running classes after 10p.m, students are going back home earlier. However, it impossible to cool down the hot private tutoring market only with this measure. Due to the ban on private institutes, students are turning to private home tutoring after 10p.m. Many students are currently complaining that they are still studying late at night.
The Education Ministry should come up with a more creative method to reduce the cost of private education. For example, schools could have after-school activities to stop students from going to private institutes, but rather make them stay at school and study. Many students are receiving private tutoring because of the special subjects that schools don’t teach. When professional teachers are employed at schools, students would be less willing to rely on hagwon.
It is either now or never. Korea should increase its efforts to reduce the amount of money spent on private tutoring. The recently announced reforms are not enough. Kim Ga-young,
Gwacheon Foreign Language High School
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