Korea: What cost high test scores? | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 4, 2011

Korea: What cost high test scores?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Speaking of education: Korea. From the Washington Post:

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.

The academic intensity that fueled the country’s economic rise is now blamed for a high suicide rate and a plummeting birth rate, as prospective parents weigh the costs of educating children. Extreme competition has also inspired a student exodus to foreign schools and universities that drains talent and divides families.

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