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Trade Watchdog Investigating Private Academic Institutes

Trade Watchdog Investigating Private Academic Institutes

Posted July. 20, 2010 16:33,   


The Fair Trade Commission launched Monday a sweeping crackdown of major academic institutes in Seoul’s Daechi and Mok districts and Pyeongchon, Gyeonggi Province.

The commission had previously put private academies in the three areas under government surveillance since they were considered to have excessively raised private education fees. The latest investigation is a preemptive move against the expected buildup of inflationary pressure in the year’s second half.

According to the commission and private education institutes Monday, the investigation will cover private institutes for elementary school students, math and English cram schools for middle school students, and other English tutoring institutes.

As the first sweeping investigation in two years, the crackdown also aims to see if private institutes are properly implementing a correction order given two years ago.

The commission will reportedly investigate whether an institute forced students taking classes offline to take online classes, if the students were forced to register for online tutoring sites, and if these institutes overcharged tuition through false advertisements.

Under law, private institutes must disclose tutoring fees and put a cap on tutoring fees per hour. User fees including supplementary charges are excluded from regulation, however, and the abuse of this loophole has raised private education fees.

The commission said, “We decided to launch an investigation under the judgment that major private institutes are doing things illegally to take advantage of customers.”