Thursday, May 16, 2013

25,000 kids studied English in hagwons in Seoul in 1997?

On October 13, 1997, the Korea Herald published the following article:
25,000 Youngsters Learn English at Private Institutes

About 25,000 pre-school and primary level school kids take English lessons at private language institutes in Seoul, according to a report released yesterday. The report, submitted by the Seoul Office of Education to the National Assembly, indicated 146 English language institutes, including three foreign-owned ones, had enrollment of 24,928 kids under the age of 12 as of the end of August.

About 1,200 children under six-years-old were registered at private institutes in three affluent wards in Kangnam-gu, Soch-gu and Kangdong-gu.

Data also showed the 146 institutes employed 429 English-speaking instructors, 33 percent of the total 1,300 foreigners hired by foreign language institutes in Seoul. The fees range from 40,000 won ($44) to 390,000 won ($433) monthly for classes lasting from 45 minutes to five hours daily.

The Seoul Office of Education also issued warnings to 19 private institutes for enrolling third-grade primary school students. The Ministry of Education in March banned language institutes from admitting such students because English instruction was included in third-grade school curriculum this year for the first time.
 That figure of 25,000 seems rather low, but I wasn't here at the time, so who knows? Any ideas?

To be sure, the figure of "1,300 foreigners hired by foreign language institutes in Seoul" must be too low - I mean, Rep. Kim Han-gil said a few months earlier that there were 70,000 unqualified foreigners teaching in Korea! Surely someone as unbiased as he was couldn't be wrong, could he?

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