The Wall Street Journal recently told the story of Kim Ki-hoon, a South Korean “rock-star” teacher who rakes in an eye-popping $4 million annually to tutor kids after school. This exorbitant salary is made possible by a performance-based system that rewards instructors who command the highest demand among pupils.
And demand is high in South Korea, hands-down one of the most education-obsessed countries on the planet. Welcome to the world of South Korean’s hagwons – a system of school-after-school.
As the report notes, the South Korean government has been trying to reign in this educational excess for years, issuing curfews for hagwons and even banning them for a time in the 1980s while the nation was under military rule. But the cram schools continue to come back stronger than ever. Last year South Korean parents dropped $17 billion on hagwon tuition – a figure so high it even attracts investments from Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group and A.I.G. READ MORE