A Comparative Analysis of the US and Korea
KDI/EWC series on Economic Policy
Edited by John Karl Scholz, Hyungypo Moon and Sang-Hyup Lee
Chapter 8: After-school classes in Korea: effects on the demand for private tutoring and academic performance
Hisam Kim examines the effects of after-school classes on the demand for private tutoring and academic performance of Korean students. The government has pursued a policy since the 1970s of trying to equalize the quality of schools nationwide at the secondary level. Intense competition for high academic achievement and places in the best universities has given rise to a major private tutoring industry in recent decades. About three-quarters of all students in primary and secondary education receive at least some private tutoring. The cost of such tutoring was estimated by the OECD in 2007 at 2.2 percent of GDP, or about 8.8 percent of average family income. Access to high-quality tutoring and ability to pay greatly vary by area and by income. In an effort to reduce the financial burden and the resulting gaps in educational achievement, the government introduced the after-school class program in 2006. These classes provide not only academic subjects but also specialized subjects such as arts, sports and computer training. The government subsidizes the costs in such a way that the more-privileged families pay fees that are modest relative to the cost of private tutoring, and low-income and less-advantaged families pay nothing.
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