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Private education in South Korea - statistics & facts

“You must study hard and get into a good university.” Such a phrase will be familiar to most South Korean students. Indeed, receiving tertiary education is very much the norm in South Korea. The social importance placed on one’s academic background is undeniable in Korean society, especially in terms of higher education. Within this social context, many parents resort to enlisting their child in private education through a variety of means like tutoring, or after-school classes at private academies (hagwons).

Why do Korean parents engage their children in private education?

South Korean parents face a dilemma on the matter of their child’s education. Survey results displayed a low level of trust in teachers while at the same time showing an aversion to sending their child away to study abroad. However, there is also a social aspect that influences Korean parents’ decisions, with a fear of their child falling behind being the main driver that pushes parents towards utilizing private education.

How much do parents invest towards private education?

The rate of participation in private education in South Korea showed a trend of starting at a younger age. Additionally, children from higher-income families were subject to a higher allocation of resources towards extracurricular education, both in time and money spent. Ultimately, engaging students in private education seemed to work, with the participation rate having a positive correlation with the student’s academic performance in South Korean schools.

What are the parents’ opinions on private education?

Nevertheless, even with the evident effectiveness of private education and its prevalence in South Korean society, there was a healthy demand for a decreased role of such extracurricular activities. Many families expressed their concern with financing their child’s private education, as well as voicing their opinions on improving the public education system in a variety of ways, even suggesting government policies. Among such ideas was also apprehension for future generations given South Korea’s demographic situation.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Private education in South Korea".


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