Private tutoring is outrageous in South Korea

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Soaring Education Costs

From the Korea Time’s Opinion section on Monday, May 7, 2007 


Radical Steps Need to Reduce Private Tutoring

Soaring education spending has emerged as one of the major reasons for married women to avoid childbirth, pushing South Korea to rapidly become an aged society. Specifically, private tutoring costs are putting strong pressure on couples to go without children. According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) on Friday, consumer prices rose at a relatively stabilized rate of 2.5 percent last month compared with a year before. However, households’ education-related spending jumped between 5 percent and 9 percent, far higher than overall price hikes.
It is not surprising for parents to complain that they are scared to raise children due to the heavier financial burden for education. But, this does not necessarily mean that policymakers can overlook such a complaint, as the country has now recorded the worlds’ lowest birthrate of 1.08. An increasing number of young people prefer to remain single rather than get married due to difficulties in getting jobs and skyrocketing housing costs.

Newly married couples usually suffer from the backbreaking burdens of childbearing and education. In particular, more and more women tend to focus more on their career than childbearing, adding fuel to the low birthrate trend. The NSO statistics showed that the costs for daycare centers climbed 9.2 percent in April from a year earlier, while babysitter fees jumped 7.7 percent. Tuition for kindergartens also surged 9.5 percent.

What’s worrisome is that parents are not able to save money for their retirement since they have to spend excessively on the education of their children. According to the Hyundai Research Institute, parents were found to spend 19 percent of their monthly income on private tutoring for their children. The private think tank affiliated with the Hyundai Group said each household sets aside an average of 646,000 won for private tutoring, or 381,700 won per child. What’s astonishing is that the total volume of South Korea’s private tutoring market is estimated at 33.5 trillion won, accounting for 3.95 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). The sum exceeds the government’s entire education budget of 31 trillion won. The burden is much higher than that of other countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In the end, the huge education costs have a negative effect on the economy, not only forcing households to cut down both consumption and savings, but also accelerating the “double-income, no kids’’ phenomenon. This problem will inevitably make a dent on South Korea’s international competitiveness in the foreseeable future.

Policymakers must produce radical measures to normalize school education and introduce a new college entrance system in a bid to reduce private tutoring costs. They also ought to take long-term steps to encourage marriages and childbirths. May is called the Month of the Family in South Korea with Children’s Day, Parents’ Day and Teachers’ Day. We need to redouble our efforts to restore the value of having a family.


Filed under Business, Education, Entertainment, ESL, History, Impressive, Interesting..., Korea life, Linguistics, Statistics

3 responses to “Private tutoring is outrageous in South Korea

  1. We at JJM Consultancy would like to introduce ourselves as a one stop destination serservice provider for online tutoring. We have a fully functional office (with management personnel and security) located in the heart of New Delhi, India with ten work stations along with broad band connectivity of 2Mbps speed. We are at present working in conjunction with multiple US companies as an online tutoring service provider.
    We are capable of providing quality education with the help of a 40+ team of highly skilled and qualified tutors in math, science and English. Through our focused modules on Homework-help and live tutoring, our team has the capacity to help students across the globe to achieve stupendous success in their schools and colleges. Our vision is to incorporate and devise all possible options that will enable us to reach out to more and more students and help us make a difference to their lives.

    Our Services with respect to Korean market would comprise of:
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    Live English Tutoring—– This is also one to one live tutoring using a whiteboard platform as a teaching medium with a web camera. This course would start with the fundamentals of spoken English and eventually make the student fluent in both and written and spoken English skills.
    Voice And Accent Training–This Course would be designed for people who already have basic spoken English skills but would like to polish up their voice modulation, pronunciation to enable them to get better jobs

    As it is not possible for many students across the world to avail access to good tutors due to cost and geographical barriers, we offer our services at very nominal prices with client specific web based solutions to make education easily accessible to everyone in the world

  2. Mike

    I tutor South Koreans in the US and have references. I will tutor online for a fraction of what you’re normally being charged. Please email me at if interested.

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