31 January 2018

ELS changes for Korean students

The Korean Ministry of Education has unveiled an “Early Childhood Education Renovation Plan” which includes a ban on after-school English study at elementary and kindergarten levels.

Korean student

The Korean government has announced a ban on after-school English education to first and second graders in elementary school (Years 3 and 4 of New Zealand primary school) as well as English classes at kindergarten (Years 1 and 2 of New Zealand primary school).

The ban for first and second graders will come into effect in March 2018 while the kindergarten ban will take place from 2019.

Kay Kyungah Lee, ENZ’s Senior Market Development Manager – South Korea, explains that the ban is to prevent students from studying English before the third grade, where it becomes part of the curriculum in Korea.

“To get a headstart, many schools offer after-school English courses for first- and second-graders.

“To equalise the competitive education culture, a law banning advanced learning was adopted in 2014. However, after-school English courses remained intact due to strong demand from parents.”

Kay said Korean parents have relied on English being taught during early education for many years. However, with the new ban limiting this option in-country, there could be opportunities for New Zealand providers to benefit.

“This ban is likely to result in an increase in private English education. But when only expensive options are available in Korea, overseas education can be more appealing and have better value for money.

“English language is still regarded as one of the most important skills in the competitive job market in Korea. The level of interest for an effective English education would be high amongst Korean parents.”

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