NATIONAL

Korean children start English education before turning five

By 임정요
  • Published : May 31, 2016 - 10:03
  • Updated : May 31, 2016 - 10:03
South Korean mothers have their children start learning English before they turn five on average, an age some admit is probably too early, a survey showed Tuesday.

Yoon's English School, a company that runs a chain of English language schools across the country, asked 466 members of an online mothers' community between May 25-29 and found that their children started learning English at an average age of 4.8. The survey said

24.9 percent started at age 6, 21.7 percent at age 5 and 14.8 percent at age 4. It also said 5.8 percent of the mothers started teaching English to their children, when they were still in the womb.

When asked if the chosen age was appropriate, 68.5 percent said it was, but 28.1 percent thought it was too early. The survey found that the largest group of 21.7 percent said about 8 years old, the age children normally start primary school, is the right time to start English education.

The same survey said 67.2 percent believed children should begin English education before starting school, but 26.2 percent said it wasn't necessary. For the former group, the biggest reason was to get their kids familiarized with a foreign language (66.1 percent). For the latter group, the main argument was that starting early does not necessarily make their children better at English (59.8 percent).

Among those surveyed, the average appropriate age to start was 5.7.

More than half (53.4 percent) of the children started learning English through songs and animations. A similar 49.6 percent of the children took after-school classes at preschools, according to the survey in which respondents could choose more than one answer.

As to how the mothers picked the starting age, 44.4 said they thought it was about the right time, while 39.9 percent said they landed on the idea when preschools offered after-school classes.

Another 21.7 percent said they were pushed when other people's children started learning English. (Yonhap)