While ordinary kindergartens and elementary schools are scaling down or even closing their doors as the country’s birthrate drops, English kindergartens have grown in number.
Last year, 44 new English kindergartens opened in Seoul, bringing the total to 295 English-language kindergartens in the city, an anti-private education civic group said Thursday, based on their analysis of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education data on the city’s private academic institutes.
According the data, the districts of Gangnam and Seocho topped the list with 87 English preschools, accounting for some 30 percent of the total. In just the two districts, 21 new English kindergartens opened in a year.
The Gangdong and Songpa districts boasted 46 English kindergartens, while Gangseo and Yangcheon had 24 English kindergartens in total.
The data also showed the average monthly fee for English kindergartens in Seoul to be 1.04 million won ($894) last year, an increase of 14,078 won from the previous year.
Three English preschools located in Gangnam and Seocho were the most expensive, charging 2.2 million won per month. The annual cost of sending a child to those academies would be 26.9 million won -- nearly four times the average annual tuition of 6.7 million won for a four-year university in Korea.
The average daily instruction hours at the English kindergartens -- 4 hours and 51 minutes -- was equivalent to the average daily instruction hours for middle school students, data showed.
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)