South Korean students spend record high on crammers
SOUTH Korean students on average spent 240,000 won (S$280) a month last year to attend private crammers, a slight increase from the year before but a new high since the government began tracking the trend in 2007.
The rise by 2,000 won year-on-year happened despite the fall in the total number of non-university students compared to 2014, reported Chosun Ilbo.
The newspaper believes the figure could be higher as some of the 43,000 parents surveyed for the finding were likely to have under-reported their spending.
A crammer, or hagwon in Korean, is a for-profit institution where students go to after regular school to study in hopes of improving scores in examinations.
Hagwon are earning more apparently due to apprehension among parents over South Korea's prolonged economic slump, which has seen the employment market further tightened last year, especially for graduates.
The market is so bad that more degree holders simply gave up looking for a job, with many taking up private courses to improve themselves, reported Yonhap news agency.
Meanwhile, their juniors - the middle-schoolers and high-schoolers - spent nearly 2 and 3 per cent more on crammers respectively last year than in 2014, according to Chosun.
The spending has been growing since 2013 after having inched down for three years, said the newspaper.
According to official agency Statistics Korea (SK), the number of unemployed graduates in South Korea more than doubled last year to 3.35 million from 1.59 million in 2000.
"In short, one in five economically inactive people last year was a college graduate," said SK spokesman Sohn Young Tae. [ ]