April 08, 2021 13:19
Some 3,834 schools had shut down across the country as of last May as Koreans have fewer and fewer children, according to data from the Education Ministry.
That means an estimated 3.4 million people will have experienced pangs of nostalgia as their alma mater closed its doors for the last time.
The trend was particularly marked in aging rural provinces like South Jeolla and North and South Gyeongsang.
The closed schools account for 32.7 percent of all 11,710 primary and secondary schools nationwide.
South Jeolla Province topped the list with 828 closed schools, followed by North Gyeongsang (729), South Gyeongsang (582), Gangwon (460), and North Jeolla (325). Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces combined took up 64 percent of all closed schools as their population was hollowed out by modern pressures.
More schools are expected to close. The number of first graders stood at 426,646 last year but will dwindle to just 350,000 in 2024 and plummet to 270,000 in 2027.
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