Monday, April 11, 2011

Unbridled Private Tutoring Costs in Seoul

An article in The Korea Times sheds light on some of the current practices taking place in the world of private tutoring in the wealthy Gangnam district of Seoul.  Beginning last August, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education conducted an investigation of underground private tutoring.  Of the illegal cases it uncovered, it chose to publicize one in which a chief tutor hired fifteen others, some of whom were regaled as "star tutors" and charged parents as much as 10 million won ($8,000) per month for private lessons.  Classes were held in apartments or studio apartments that were converted for the purpose.  Students paid 1.7 million won per month for math tutoring while the cost for English, Korean, science and social science classes was about 1 million won per month.  Classes were held eight times a month at 90 minutes per class.
In legal terms, the problem was not the amount of money involved, but rather that this group operated an actual hagwon without reporting it to the education office.  (Click on the illustration to see a full size version)

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