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21英语教师网 > 新闻资讯 > 国际看台 > 正文
Private education fervor continues
作者:Jung Ha-won     来源:JoongAng Daily    日期: 2010-03-01
导读:Growth in spending slows, but parents still shelling out large sums of money.


Namkoong Myong-ok, a 45-year-old housewife in Suwon, Gyeonggi, said she spends “practically nothing” on private education for her 13-year-old son, Young-wook.

“I spend 100,000 won [$87] each month for his taekwondo lessons, another 100,000 won to let him watch Internet-broadcast lectures from famous teachers at a Gangnam hagwon and another 80,000 to 160,000 won for English tutoring services,” she said.

Namkoong is somewhat of a rarity in her area, as some other mothers she knows shell out 1 million won or more on intensive courses at prestigious hagwon, or after-school institutes that teach math, science, Korean literature, English and pretty much everything a student needs to get good scores on college entrance exams.

“Some die-hard parents in Gangnam even send kids to special lessons for jump rope,” she said. “My son’s lifestyle looks so carefree compared to them, and it makes me nervous.”

Namkoong’s “very modest” spending for her only child is already above the average for Korean parents, who are faced with ever-growing financial burdens as they attempt to give their children a leg up when it comes to getting into a top college. The university a student attends plays a significant role in determining career choice, marriage prospects and other major aspects of life in Korea. For those reasons, parents are willing to pay top dollar for extra classes, often making huge sacrifices to do so.

Fresh data released yesterday by Statistics Korea, the state statistics agency, found that Korean parents with children in elementary, middle and high schools spent a total of 21.6 trillion won in 2009 on private education, up 3.4 percent from 2008. The monthly average for each student rose 3.9 percent to 242,000 won. The agency, which started the nationwide survey in 2007, surveyed 44,000 parents at 1,012 schools across the country.

The good news, however, is that the pace of growth slowed by roughly a full percentage point in both categories. Growth in total spending totaled 4.3 percent in 2008, while the per-student average came in at 5 percent.

The government said the declining growth rates reflect efforts to tamp down spending on private education, which has been a major focus of the Lee Myung-bak administration.

Still, experts caution that the slowdown might have more to do with last year’s economic downturn rather than the effects of government efforts and programs.

“The pace of growth may have slowed down a bit, but overall spending on private education still increased over 2008 despite the severe recession,” said Kim Hisam, a research fellow at the Korea Development Institute. “And given the inflation rate, I don’t think the financial burden on parents has noticeably eased.”

The latest data also highlight the widening gap among children from relatively well-off families and those who are not. Local households earning less than 1 million won a month spent an average of 61,000 won for children’s private education each month, while those earning more than 7 million won spent 514,000 won a month for the same purpose. As a result, the gap in such spending between the top-earning group and those at the bottom grew to 453,000 won last year, up from 420,000 won in 2008 and 415,000 won in 2007.

And the more parents spend on private education, the better their children fare at school, the data show.

Students whose academic performance falls in the top 10 percent spent an average of 319,000 won a month, while those who belong to the bottom 20 percent spent 139,000 won.

“You really have to look at how the educational gap is growing among these income groups,” Kim said.

Faced with these realities, Nam-koong has laid out a plan for her son.

“I’ll send him to an international middle school in China and eventually to a high school in the United States, where he can grow in a freer environment and he doesn’t have to hop from one hagwon to another all day long,” she said, stressing that taking this route will hopefully open up more doors for her son down the road.

“I don’t think the overall cost will be much different anyway than staying in Korea.”



关键词:韩国 课外培训

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