By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – South Korea’s kids rank number 2 in the world in reading. An article in The Wall Street Journal, “The $4 Million Teacher,” explains the hagwon system of after-hours classes which 3 out of 4 kids attend.
Ki-Hoon, a highly sought after teacher who earns $4 million a year, writes lesson plans and textbooks, makes English lessons on video available online at $4 an hour, and responds to students’ online requests. His 150,000 students work to boost their scores on South Korea’s version of the SAT.
Parents of hagwon students spend $17 billion annually for instruction, while Americans spend $15 billion on video games.
The hagwons are separate from traditional schools and well-prepared teachers are in high demand. Parents get text messages when their children arrive and calls 2 or three times a month relaying student progress.
There are issues. More affluent students get the best teachers, parents feel pressed for tuition and policy-makers agree that traditional schools must change, train and pay high qualified teachers and insist on excellence.