Our long lament with America’s education systems continues. I was reminded of it again by a report on the entrepreneurial approach to teaching students that is rampant in South Korea. There kids go to school during the day, and at night after coming home they go back to school, alebeit of a different type. South Korean students are world class top performers (#2 after Shanghai), and are nudged into that status by parents who pay extra for extra tutoring for their little darlings.
South Korea is full of private tutoring academies (hagwons) run by entrepreneurs and master teachers. Because of that South Korea is a literate and numerate nation – 93% high school graduation rate, ours is 77% - this means their high schoolers can read and cypher, while a good half of ours fall short.
The hagwons are highly competitive, they advertise and publish their students’ test score averages and college admission rates. Private teachers are continually rated by their students whom they correctly treat as their customers. But even with higher ratings, most private teachers still strain to make as much as public school teachers, however many of them do make goodly fortunes. The outstanding teachers are treated as we would treat rock stars, using online technologies they know how to leverage their talents.
The country’s leading private teacher is Mr Kim Ki-Hoon who runs a 30 person teaching and publishing company. Most of Mr Kim’s lectures are delivered online, and he supplements these lectures with his own texts that he self-publishes. His personal income is about $4M annually. Neither Mr Kim nor his thousands of colleagues/competitors are certified by the state. The hagwons are run as a pure meritocracy in a free market with the non-performers being ruthlessly weeded out. (more here)