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Eight out of Ten Students Get Private Education

Posted February. 23, 2008 05:30,   


Korean students enrolled in primary and secondary schools take private lessons for more than ten hours per week and each Korean student spends 290,000 won per month, a survey showed. According to the recent survey, math is the most frequently chosen subject for private education but English is the most expensive one.

Private education costs differ greatly by region. A student in Seoul spends an average 352,000 won a month on private education, around double the amount (182,000 won) spent by a student living in a rural area.

In its ‘Analysis on Private Education Costs’ released yesterday, the National Statistical Office said the nation’s students at primary and secondary schools spent 20.04 trillion won on private education in 2007. It is 8.4 percent of the nation’s budget estimated at 238.4 trillion won in 2007.

It was first time that an analysis on private education costs was conducted on the government level. The statistical office conducted its two surveys of 34,000 parents whose children are enrolled in 272 schools nationwide. Its first survey was conducted in July and second one was done in October 2007.

○ Grade Schoolers Spend Most on Private Education

According to the survey, 77 percent of Korean students get private education and each student spends 288,000 won per month on private education. The survey results showed that 88.8 percent of grade schoolers get private education. The share of students resorting to private education has decreased as they get older. Middle school students and high school students mostly get private education for courses they are taught in schools while a majority of elementary school students go to private institutions for extracurricular activities. The survey showed high school students pay the most for private education while grade schoolers pay the least. For example, a high school student pays 359,000 won a month for private education while a grade schooler spends 256,000 won per month.

By subject, 56.8 percent of students take private lessons for math. It was followed by English (55.6 percent), Korean (39.3 percent), society and science (25.6 percent), second foreign languages, Chinese writing, computer (14.9 percent) and essay writing (10.8 percent). The most expensive subject turned out to be English, which costs a student 122,000 won per month. A student spends 98,000 won on private math education. An average student spends 74,000 won for essay writing education, more than the amount (57,000 won) spent on private education for Korean, a subject of the college entrance exam.

○ Well-educated Parents Prefer Private Education

Around half of parents with a middle school diploma resort to private education, while almost 90 percent of parents with a bachelor’s degree or higher one choose private education. Also, a student whose mother finished the middle school course spends 207,000 won per month on private education while a student whose mother holds a bachelor’s degree spends 311,000 won per month.

The survey revealed that 94 percent of children from high-income bracket households with a monthly income of 7 million won or over get private education. Each student from the high-income bracket spends 500,000 won a month, around 3.5 times the private education costs (143,000 won) of a student from the low-income bracket

○ “I Get Private Education Because I Feel Uneasy”

In the survey, 14 percent of students getting private education for courses that are taught in schools answered that they get private education since they feel uneasy. Even though a majority of them (31.8 percent) answered that they go to private institutions for prior education, a considerable number of respondents turned out to take private lessons because of the feeling of uneasiness.

Also, 89 percent of students in the upper 10 percent of the grade take private lessons while 51.2 percent belonging to the lower 20 percent get private education.

Lee Jong-jae, a professor of education at Seoul National University, said, “Since the private education market focuses on students with higher grades, it has not successfully provided good services for students with poor grades. The government needs to strengthen the role of public education while providing customized after-school programs.”