Korea should undergo labor reform to curb private education spending

2024.03.15 10:20:02 | 2024.03.15 10:21:47

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

Total expenses on private education for elementary, middle, and high school students reached a record high of 27.1 trillion won in 2023, up 4.5 percent from the previous year.

The all-time high spending comes despite a 70,000 decline in the number of students from a year ago.

The average monthly expense on private education reached a record high of 553,000 won per student last year, statistics showed.

Private education expenses for high school students, in particular, increased 8.5 percent on year to 7.5 trillion won in 2023.

The government announced measures to reduce private education expenses last year, vowing to keep the growth rate within the inflation rate of 3.6 percent as of 2023.

The government, however, failed to achieve the goal.

The Ministry of Education emphasized that the growth rate slowed from last year’s growth of 10.5 percent but it is not the time to hastily package the effects of the measures.

Instead, measures should be taken to address the issue in the expanding private education market.

Soaring education costs are taking a toll on households. Married couples are putting off having babies.

It also casts a shadow on economic activity, with more households spending less elsewhere than education.

What the government has been doing has not been working.

Despite pledges to curb spending on private education, recent efforts have fallen short of expectations, suggesting the government needs to make more targeted efforts.

Fixing public education could be a start, but the country needs broader changes, including labor market reforms.

The government must allow for social mobility in a country characterized by obsession with elitism and college rankings and, therefore, bridge disparities between large and small companies and full-time and part-time workers.

By Editorial Team

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