Educational spending in South Korea increased at the slowest pace in more than a decade last year due to large debts owed by households and high inflation, a report said Sunday.
According to the report compiled by Statistics Korea, households in the country spent 34.6 trillion won ($31.71 billion) on education last year, up 0.5 percent from a year earlier.
The increase is the lowest since 1998 when educational spending declined 2.3 percent amid the unprecedented financial crisis, according to the report.
Households' educational spending went up 3.3 percent in 2008 and 0.9 percent in 2009, it said.
"Households reduced spending on education as a prolonged slump in the local housing market forced many of them to bear increased financial burdens," said Lim Hee-jeong, a researcher at the Hyundai Research Institute.
South Korean household debts came to nearly 800 trillion won
(US$722 billion) as of the end of last year, which analysts say had been stoked by the country's low borrowing costs.
In March, the Bank of Korea raised the key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 3 percent to tame inflation. The central bank has hiked the borrowing costs in four steps since July of last year from a record low of 2 percent.