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Korean infant education funding among OECD lowest

The Korean government’s spending on infant education is among the lowest of OECD member nations, a state-run institute revealed Tuesday.

And the rate of women’s participation in earning activities also tables at the below most other OECD countries.

The figures suggest that women could take on more money-making roles if the administration helped families with pre-school education, according to the Korea Labor Institute.

Researcher at the institute Bahn Jeong-ho analyzed an OECD report to find that the South Korean government spent 0.2 percent of GDP on public educational services for pre-school children in 2005, placing Korea in 27th among 30 member states, with Greece and Canada falling behind.

Korea’s expenditure sharply contrasted Iceland, Denmark, France and Sweden, which all spent well over 1 percent of their GDPs on infant education systems.

Also, women in Korea were apparently more reluctant to go to work than staying home looking after the children. In Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, 72.5 percent had jobs, while about 69.5 percent of women in New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and others were also engaged in business activities. But the portion of working women dropped to 61.1 percent when it came to Korea, Japan and Mexico.

“It seems that the more the government shares the burden of childrearing, the more likely (it is for) women to take things easy on working and contributing to business activities,” Bahn said, urging the government to invest more in public childcare.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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