Tuesday, December 08, 2009

This is the opportunity to reduce spending on hagwons

Korean governments have repeatedly tried to reduce the amount that parents spend on hagwons (cramming schools for math, English and other subjects) and repeatedly been unsuccessful.

It could happen this time.

From the Dong-a.

Elementary schools in Seoul have had an average of 29 students this year, the first time for the number to fall below 30 in the city, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said yesterday.

One big advantage that hagwons have over public schools is the student/teacher ratio.  Indeed, that might be the only big advantage that hagwons have.  The teachers are usually under-qualified...

Wait.  Don't get angry.  In my opinion, many hagwons are using university students who have not yet graduated.  Some of my students are working at hagwons, teaching English, math, geography, piano and other subjects.  They are eager and hard-working, but typically have not graduated with a degree in education.

...School teachers, with an education in education, and small class sizes, should be able to teach more effectively.

A message to the various Ministries of Education:  don't close the schools.  Keep them open and accept the lower ratios as a good thing.

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