One of the shadows on the educational system in Korea is tutoring-- private academies take much of the families money and time from the students preventing them from enjoying their youth. A researcher at the Catholic University Learning Center puts some light on the problems associated with private tutoring.
“Four hours of sleep and you pass, 5 hours of sleep and you will flunk.” These are the words that have been around for many years. Academy buses are easily seen on the streets. Our college students work part time teaching in these academies and those who want to teach, but can’t find work, are employed by these academies. Entrance examinations to college are the problem, and she doesn't want parents to see this as inevitable, but to continue to search for remedies.
Efforts have been made with free compulsory education, free lunches, and after school programs that have decreased the expenses on the parents for public education, but the private keeps going up. The academies are following the same programs as the public schools and for that reason called 'shadow education'. The reliance on private education decreases from the 81.8 percent in elementary school, 69.5 in middle school and 55.9 percent in high school. In the lower grades we have concern for the students interests, cultural pursuits and aptitudes while in high school it is preparing for college entrance.
The conditions in many of the academies are worse than the regular school situation but the main reason for attending is to raise the grades of the students. If the students don't go to the academies, they are left alone during after school hours, another reason for going to the academies. Many believe the private academies are supplementing the teaching in the schools, but those who have studied the situation feel it is to increase the competitive ability of the students.
Family expenses are going up. Educational levels are being determined by money, nurturing more dissatisfaction, and building a culture that sees grades as all important. The meaning of education is distorted, the place of education in the home is belittled, and fostering a need for separation from family in search of learning. These elements which are distorting the education of our students is making parents forget to develop the gifts children have received.
She recommends that the school decrease the number of students for each teacher. Stop the classification of jobs as high or low, and ranking them according to prestige. Efforts are necessary to change the cultural need to relate with others according to their rank in society: not judging only by externals. Without this liberation we will not be freed from the need for private education. There is a need for the parents to stop looking for ways to better the education of their children. She asks is the education for the good of the child or the good of the parent? Are the academies helping the children to be more vital or are they oppressive and preventing growth? Is it not happiness and vitality that the parents want for their children?