Hagwons (학원) are private cram schools that are oh-so-ubiquitous in South Korea. Almost every student in Korea, from elementary to middle and high schools, attend private classes after their regular schools. Some start their classes as early as 5 o’clock in the morning and ends at 11 in the evening. Most of these classes are for English, advanced Math, Korean, History, and some are for special classes like Music, Arts and TaeKwonDo. My husband’s eldest niece, who is just eleven years old, has been attending private schools since she was five! Now that she’s in middle school, she attends classes from 8 o’clock in the morning until 10 at night. At home, she still has to study online. They also have regular school classes every other Saturday and attends private school even on Sundays. They don’t spend their summer and winter vacations doing nothing either. They also have private classes during that time. I’m sounding so redundant!
What I’m trying to say is, I don’t know about the Japanese but Korean students study for so many hours. I wonder how they could fit “cyworld” and “starcraft” into their very hectic schedules! And to think that there are talks the Seoul city government is planning to deregulate hagwons. Many parents are afraid that they might run for 24 hours and will further stress the kids. Come to think of it, why do parents and teachers put up with this culture. They seriously need better parenting advice. I’m a parent too and my son will most likely attend high school in Korea. However, I want him to experience the joy of high school and not just the boring, tedious part of it. After all, I don’t believe that you have to study 20 hours a day to be successful.