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Early Education Abroad Declines for 1st Time

Posted October. 17, 2008 06:56,   


The number of Korean primary and secondary students going overseas to study fell for the first time last year, according to the Education, Science and Technology Ministry yesterday.

In collaboration with Korean Education Development Institute, the ministry collected data on primary and secondary school students going overseas last year. It found 27,668 went abroad to study between March 1 last year and Feb. 28 this year, down 1,843 from the previous year.

The number of elementary and secondary school students going abroad to study rose from 1,562 in 1998 to 10,132 in 2002. Since then, the number has steadily increased each year at 10,498 in 2003, 16,446 in 2004, 20,400 in 2005, and 29,511 in 2006. The decreasing number of children due to the low birth rate and economic slowdown were cited as factors for the unprecedented decline, a ministry official said.

Study destinations are also changing as more children are going to Southeast Asia instead of the United States, Canada and Australia. The most favored destination last year, however, was the United States with 14,006, followed by Southeast Asia with 7,421, China 6,880, Canada 5,453, Australia 2,030 and New Zealand 1,833.

China used to be the most popular study destination among secondary students next to the United States until 2006, but ranked below Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines last year.