Monday, April 4, 2011

Korea's Cram Schools Crackdown

...Hello all, I'm in Tokyo helping my newspaper to cover the earthquake and its aftermath, but I wanted to share a story I wrote from Korea! It ran in the Washington Post today.

Here's a taste:

By the numbers, the South Korean system is the envy of the world: The nation regularly places among the top five countries on international math and reading tests, the high school dropout rate is less than 4 percent, and the college completion rate among young adults — at 56 percent — is among the highest in the world.

But many South Koreans say praise for those achievements often overlooks where the gains come from and at what cost. South Koreans poured $19 billion into private tutoring in 2009, more than half the sum spent on public education. That paid for a range of lessons, including English tutoring, accelerated math classes and endless college exam preparation.