Photo: Collection of private tutoring centers, or hagwon. Credit: The Blue Roof.
According to the Bureau of Statistics 통계청, households with minor children spent an average of KRW 364k (USD 290) per month for private tutoring in 2022, the highest such figure on record. The new average was an 18.3% increase from the previous year; each quarter of 2022 saw a double-digit increase on a year-over-year basis.
Soaring inflation, as well as parents’ desire to ensure their children overcome the disruption in schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled the increase. The high cost of education is another factor that discourages young couples from having children, contributing to South Korea’s very low birth rate.