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Private Education Costs Highest Ever

Posted December. 18, 2007 05:25,   


The government announced a series of education policies to reduce private education costs recently. To this end, it began to divide the results of the College Scholastic Aptitude Test into nine levels, instead of giving students their raw scores. Nonetheless, the amount spent on education policies under the Roh Moo-hyun administration has been the largest ever.

Sungkyunkwan University education professor Yang Jung-ho studied data released by the Korea National Statistical Office (KNSO) to analyze how much the general public has spent on private education (excluding the money spent on tuition fees, textbooks and stationery) from 1982 to 2007. Yang said on Monday that Korean households have spent a whopping 21 trillion won a year in the past five years under the Participatory Government, the highest ever since the KNSO began recording.

Koreans altogether have spent 105.4861 trillion won, or 21.0972 trillion won a year, from 2003 to the third quarter of this year.

The total amount is twice the amount spent under the previous Kim Dae-jung administration (51.0091 trillion won; annual average: 10.2018 trillion won). Also, it is 42 times larger than the amount under the Jeon Doo-hwan administration (2.4973 trillion won; annual average: 416.2 billion won).

Shackled by the government’s restrictions on private tutoring, private education costs had increased somewhat slowly from 1982 to 1989. Since then, however, they soared until 1996. The rapid increase was somewhat mitigated in the midst of the financial crisis of 1998, but it has skyrocketed since then.

Annual private education costs, which reached 12.7545 trillion won in 2002, jumped to 17.81 trillion won in 2003. This year, they have already reached 23.6474 trillion won for the first three quarters.

Yang said, “The change in the college aptitude test has further encouraged students to resort to extracurricular lessons to prepare for essay exams. If the surge in private education costs during the fourth quarter is included, the nation’s annual private education cost could reach 30 trillion won, on a par with the annual budget of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development.“

In terms of monthly private education costs, the disparity between upper 20 percent income bracket and the lower 20 percent income bracket has increased 116.4 percent, from 104,932 won in 2002 to 227,032 won in 2007.