Most Kids Under 3 Sent to Private Crammers

A growing number of children under three years of age are sent to private crammers in Korea's never-ending race for educational advantage.

According to a survey by the state-run Korea Institute of Child Care and Education of 2,523 households, 41.9 percent of children under three years and 86.8 percent of kids between three and six attend private crammers besides kindergartens, nurseries or pre-school.

Spending includes private tutoring, soccer and piano lessons and English conversation classes.

"I'm not sure whether these classes will all end up helping my child's education, but I have to enroll my child in more classes because everyone else is doing it," said one parent. "With so much money going on private crammers already, I'm worried about how I can manage to afford them later on."

Even among infants less than one year old, 16.9 percent attend private crammers, rising to 40 percent for one-year-olds, 70 percent for two-year-olds and 80.2 percent for three-year-olds.

"Excessive early education ends up hindering a child's emotional development and his or her ability to bond with others of their age and could end up making them lose interest in learning," warned Choi Il-sun at Gyeongin National University of Education.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 26, 2012 11:25 KST