October 27, 2010 10:12
The number of schoolchildren in Korea has dropped significantly due to the country's low birthrate, according to statistics released Tuesday. The figures, compiled by the Korean Educational Development Institute for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, show that there are 7.28 million elementary and middle school students in Korea this year, down 210,000 from last year and 2.69 million fewer than in 1980.
There are 3.29 million elementary schoolchildren this year, 170,000 fewer than last year and only 57.4 percent of the number in 1970.
This year, the low birthrate affected even the number of high school students, leading to the first decline since 2005. In contrast, the number of preschoolers, which had been declining since 2007, rose slightly from 537,361 last year to 538,587 this year.
Meanwhile, the number of schoolteachers in Korea grew from 232,643 in 1980 to 452,019 last year and to 455,907 this year. But the average number of children per kindergarten class rose by 0.6 to 21, per elementary class by 1.2 to 26.6, in middle school by 0.6 to 33.8, and in high school by 0.5 to 33.7 from last year.
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