South Koreans Spend Record Sum on Education

Increase due in part to private teaching including English-language learning

South Koreans spent nearly $30 billion on education in 2008, more than in any previous year, despite the deepening economic downturn, official figures showed on March 29.

The increase, due largely to a rise in spending on private teaching including English-language learning, indicated South Koreans were reluctant to cut back on education despite a dramatic economic slowdown.

Household spending on education reached an all-time high of 39.8 trillion won (US$9.5 billion) in 2008, up 7.7% from a year earlier, the Yonhap news agency said, citing Bank of Korea figures.

The global financial crisis has dampened consumer spending in South Korea and fueled a rise in unemployment.

The country's per-capita gross national income fell to $19,231 last year from $21,695 in 2007.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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