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S. Koreans' spending on private education up in 2009

All Headlines 17:00 February 23, 2010

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Spending on private education in South Korea rose last year from a year earlier, a government report showed Tuesday, indicating continued zeal for education and lingering dissatisfaction with the public school system among parents here.

According to the report by Statistics Korea, spending on private education for elementary, middle and high school students amounted to an estimated 21.6 trillion won (US$18.8 billion) last year, up 3.4 percent from a year earlier.

Expenditures per student also expanded 3.9 percent over the same period to a monthly average of 242,000 won last year, the report showed.

The increase came despite an economic downturn last year in the wake of the global financial crisis, highlighting the die-hard enthusiasm that South Korean parents have for education amid heated competition to send their children to better schools.

Dissatisfaction with the government's public education policies is another factor driving many to the private sector, with education spending for English and mathematics accounting for the largest share. The two subjects are among the most important in college entrance tests.

Spending on English education came to a monthly average of 80,000 won per child last year, up 5.3 percent from a year earlier, the report showed. Expenditures on math also grew 8.1 percent to 67,000 won over the same period.

Cram schools were the most sought after option for private education with a total of 122,000 won spent every month per child. Personal and group tutoring came next with monthly spending amounting to 33,000 won and 21,000 won, respectively, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the average time spent on private education stood at a weekly average of 7.4 hours last year, slightly down from 7.6 hours a year earlier, the report showed.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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