Week 6: Cram school

The term sekki hakwon feels foreign to the ears of a person who have lived all her life in Korea. However, even though it has not been long since sekki hakwons started showing, private institutions in Korea have been teaching children ahead of the standard curriculum. Not only in daechi-dong, but in less affluent, suburban places like Nowon-gu. There was a hakwon called Newstudy which taught mathematics. The students learned math three years in advance of their grades. Even though there was no sekki hakwons, some of these students had private tutoring in order to catch up with the curriculum of Newstudy. This means that even though sekki hakwons only exist in daechi-dong for now, there have been many others who have gotten the same type of service sekki hakwons provide.

The fact that many of the so-called elite or prestigious private institutions are centered in Daechi-dong does not prove that these students have higher chances of getting into prestigious universities, and in turn, be more successful in life. It is true that they may have tutors like Robert Langdon (and most of these star tutors provide online courses), it does not mean that the students are more intelligent and able to keep up with such advanced classes. Since most students do not understand but memorize the things hakwons cram into their brains, they have to take the course again when they reach high school because they cannot get higher scores in CSAT compared to others. Of course there are students who does not have to repeat, but there are always the selected few who excel in everything even when they have equal chances in education. Indeed, even in HUFS, relatively well-respected compared to most of the other universities in Korea, there are more students who have not attended classes in hakwons in Daechi-dong. Except those who cannot pay for their food in school, there are pretty much equal chances for average Korean students. It is more likely to be the matter of effort, rather than money.

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