In contemporary Korean society, kindergartens, childcare facilities and also private academies, (Hakwons), are proliferating due to a number of social structural problems. These problems can be defined as excessive educational competition, an increasing English divide, the English-for-English principle presented by English immersion programs, and low birth rates caused by increasing costs of supplementary educational support for children. Therefore, increasing numbers of children attending Hakwons at younger and younger ages have contributed to difficulties experienced by some kindergartens and childcare facilities in recruiting 5-year-old children.
To identify the practical functions and operational methods of Hakwons running from the morning like kindergartens and childcare facilities, this study conducted a survey targeting private English/recreation/art schools in Seoul and Gyeonggi province, since these two areas have the highest number of Hakwons and lowest enrollment rates in kindergartens and childcare facilities.
The survey targeted 449 parents sending their children to Hakwons; 241 to English Hakwons, 117 to recreation Hakwons, 91 to art Hakwons, and the main findings are as follows.
First, the type of Hakwon selected by parents seems to depend upon household earnings. High income households (over 4.5 million won monthly) tend to send their children to English and recreation schools such as art Hakwons are mostly used by lower income households. The monthly tuition fees on average varies from 600,000 won in English Hakwons, 480,000 won in recreation Hakwons and 290,000 won in art Hakwons; therefore, the tuition of English Hakwons is twice that of art Hakwons.
Hakwons provide 4.7 days a week and 4.9 hours a day on average, similar to kindergartens/childcare facilities, except that there is no full-day service provided. Nonetheless, the ratio of working mothers using Hakwons is 27.4% according to this survey; with approximately 30 percent of married women being engaged in economic activities. More than half of the children (55.2%) tend to use additional private education services; 67.8% of 5-year-old children, 62.2% of English Hakwon-using children, and 60.2% of working mothers’ children.
The reasons that Hakwons are preferred over kindergartens and childcare facilities are as follows; “differentiated programs to help distinguish one’s children from other children (47.7%),” “specialized programs to cultivate the talent of children (16.0%),” “no difference with kindergarten/childcare facility in terms of expense and education (11.4%).”
In the context of the falling birth rates in Korea, parents exhibit strong predilections in educating their children to achieve ‘extraordinary/outstanding’ academic standards from the early years. This leads them to seek out institutions (Hakwons) in increasing preference to ordinary kindergarten/childcare facilities. As a result, the number of legal Hakwons attempting to satisfy Korean parents’ educational aspirations is growing and the situation of excessive early private education is forecast to worsen.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 연구의 배경
Ⅲ. 유아학원 이용 실태
Ⅳ. 유아학원 운영 실태
Ⅴ. 유아학원 정책에 관한 의견조사