South Korean Households Spend 7% of Income on Educational Purposes

James Ryu, March 8, 2017, 9:40 a.m.


South Korean households spend nearly 7 percent of their monthly income on education, a survey showed Wednesday, a sign that underscores the education zeal in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The average monthly income of South Korean households came to 4.68 million won ($4,000) as of late last year. Of the total, 310,000 won was set aside for education, accounting for 6.6 percent of the income, according to the survey conducted by Shinhan Bank, the country's fourth-largest lender by assets.

The bank carried out the survey on 10,000 of its employees between 20 and 64 years of age in the country from Nov. 10 and 22.

Education spending went up for people in their 40s as they spent money on their young children.


The survey showed that people in their 40s spend 550,000 won on education, accounting for 12 percent of their monthly income.

South Koreans' education fervor helped transform the country into one of Asia's richest countries from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Former US President Barack Obama frequently lauded South Korea's education-related drive.

Some say education was the key to South Korea becoming the first former aid recipient to join the ranks of official donors in a half-century.

Still, critics argue South Korea's education system relies on simple memorization and rote learning, and does not give due attention to critical thinking. 

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