Posted May. 01, 2017 07:26,
Updated May. 01, 2017 07:56
Established in 1951, Socheon High School in North Gyeongsang Province will permanently close in 2018 when the current 14 seniors graduate from the school. For the second consecutive years from 2016, Socheon had no newly enrolled students.
“Quagmire of low birthrate” is now affecting beyond elementary schools to middle and high schools. The report titled “Current Status on Newly Registered Students to Elementary, Middle and High schools from 2015 to 2017” submitted by the Ministry of Education to the Minjoo Party’s lawmaker Kim Byeong-woo in the National Assembly's Education, Culture, Sports & Tourism Committee show that the number of middle schools whose newly registered students are less than five has increased from 108 to 122 to 127 while the number of high schools from 12 to 12 to 14.
No or fewer newcomers for high schools are entirely different issue from the one with elementary schools. “Unlike elementary schools where different graders can be organized in a same classroom as a combined class, high schoolers who study elective subjects cannot be taught in a same class,” said sources from the ministry.
Furthermore, the number of newly enrolled high schooler for 2018 stands at some 460,000, which is 60,000 less than 2017’s new students at 520,000.
The North Gyeongsang Province Office of Education, which accounts for four schools out of seven high schools (nine in the case of middle schools) whose number of new comers stands at zero is not allowed to recruit new students from the subsequent year if it fails to make up one class (with at least 14 students) for a single particular year. The ministry expects that most 279 schools, which have either been integrated or closed from 2013 to 2017, are elementary schools but from now on, middle and high schools are likely to be more affected by the trend.