Tag Archive | "students"

New Education Policy May Undermine Efforts to Reduce Inequality

This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.

What Happened

  • Recent polling showed that 63.3% of South Koreans preferred standardized tests receiving greater weight in college admissions than high school grades.
  • President Moon announced plans to abolish elite high schools and increase the weight given to the annual College Scholastic Ability Test in college admissions process.
  • After the notice, the demand for housing in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district reportedly increased.

Implications: The government’s plan to deliver a more equitable college admissions process may clash with its parallel effort to stabilize the housing market in Seoul. Observers fear that the elimination of elite high schools would increase people’s demand for housing in traditionally high-performing public school districts where prestigious public high schools and private cram schools are concentrated. This concern stems from the observations that elite schools, many of which are located outside the prosperous districts in Seoul like Gangnam, had helped divert housing demand from key parts of the city. Detractors of the government’s policy also point out that emphasis on high school grades had actually pushed families away from competitive school districts. Critics believe that reversal of these educational policies will help exacerbate housing scarcity in Seoul – something that is central to the Moon administration’s struggle to reverse wealth inequality.

Context: The South Korean government has always struggled with the high-cost of education and wealth inequality. In the 1980s, the government prohibited private tutoring in response to criticism that more economically privileged families were leveraging their wealth to give their children an unfair advantage. However, it failed to control the black market of private tutors. In 2000, the ban was declared unconstitutional. In 2001, the government expanded the weight of high school grades in college admissions process to moderate the demand for private tutoring ahead of standardized tests. However, this has not mitigated the role of private education.

Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of Soojin Hwang, Hyoshin Kim, and Rachel Kirsch.

Photo from KBS  photostream on Wikimedia Commons.

Posted in Economics, slider, South KoreaComments (0)

Korea Regains Spot as Third Largest Sender of Students to the U.S.

By Juni Kim

Despite the number of South Korean students studying in the United States dropping for the sixth year in a row, South Korea regained its spot as the third largest sender of students to America. In a report published today by the Institute of International Education, the previous third place holder, Saudi Arabia, had an even steeper drop in students studying in the U.S. over the past year. Saudi Arabia narrowly eked out South Korea for third place in last year’s report by 280 people.

After a decade of seeing steady increases starting in 1998, the number of South Korean students in the U.S. peaked in the 2008-2009 school year at more than 75,000 students. With only a brief rebound in 2010-2011, the number has consistently decreased since then, and the overall total has dropped by more than 16,000 from the previous high.

The continuing decrease of South Koreans studying in the U.S. reflects current domestic economic troubles for those wishing to study abroad. In addition to the money barrier for an expensive overseas education, a 2015 KEI blog post by Jenna Gibson also mentioned the growing accessibility to Korea-based branch campuses of American universities and the decreasing economic returns of a U.S. education as other factors for the dip in numbers of Koreans studying in America.

International students like those from South Korea have a positive economic impact on the American economy, with an estimated total contribution of $36.9 billion over the 2016-2017 school year. A 2016 Report by the Department of Commerce estimated that South Korean students added $2.3 billion to the economy in 2014.

With the current U.S administration’s focus on bolstering the American economy, it would be in the best interest for the U.S. to attract Korean students and indicate that not only is America open for business, but for education as well.

Juni Kim is the Program Manager and Executive Assistant at the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI). The views expressed here are the author’s alone.

Image from ehpien’s photostream on flickr Creative Commons.

Posted in Economics, Korea Abroad, slider, South KoreaComments (0)

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