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Moms’ network

Posted July. 09, 2013 09:36,   


On one weekend morning two weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on a social network service that tollgates on the southbound lanes of Gyeongbu Expressway are not busy. To my comment asking the reason, my friend replied, “How come an education correspondent doesn’t know that the final exam season of high school is approaching?”

Of course I knew it. But I did not know that high school final exams would affect traffic volumes. According to my friend, so-called “moms’ network” is activated from a month before final examination, and even department stores become less busy. It was not the first time I heard the term moms’ network, but this time I became curious about it. Parents with high school kids within my personal network explained for me.

First, information of private academies good at making sample questions matching each school and tutors famous for raising grades for each subject is circulated centered on moms who know it all about private education. Moms who successfully attained such information become busy driving their kids to and from various destinations and stop all other activities including going on vacation and shopping. In particular, before the final exam season of the first semester in the 12th year, the last exams reflected in school grades, the situation becomes like a war on information.

There is a variety of moms’ network. A network among moms of same graders becomes useless for a competition for school grades. In this case, a network with moms whose kids are one or two-year seniors is important. The size of networks should vary according to subjects.

Of course not all moms have a moms’ network. Some of moms living in certain areas participate in the network. However, competition among moms is incredibly fierce sometimes going too far. The most shocking story that I heard this time involves the use of a host bar.

An exclusive host bar requiring endorsement from two existing members is said to have many members who are moms of high schoolers. Moms without information treat know-it-all moms at the host bar. Then, know-it-all moms provide moms of top students with entertainment there to get information. A mom who formed a tutoring group at the host bar said, “I didn’t feel good about it at first, but I can’t stop it because my child’s grades went up.”

Now, moms’ network has spread to moms of babies. Moms with three-year-olds begin forming networks by visiting famous private academies and maintain such networks through English kindergartens and private elementary schools. Salespeople of education materials visit facilities taking care of newborns and their moms and sell products by saying that they make networks of their customers.

It may be difficult for children without moms running moms’ networks to beat those supported by such networks. Covering on this topic reminded me of an incident a few years ago. That time I was interviewing moms whose children entered top universities. One mom told me, “I don’t think you want to continue working after giving a birth to a child, do you? It’ll be irresponsible.” Because of these moms, there is a saying that the only way to get rid of private education in Korea is to force all moms to get a job.