The Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Office of Education (POE) announced on June 11 that three private academies (hagwon, in Korean) were caught violating provincial education regulations.
The POE and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology collaboratively conducted a crackdown from March to May on illegal private institutes and found that of the 399 recorded on the island, three were operating illegally. The POE hired five employees in January 2012 to conduct a detailed review of private institutes.
Since the implementation of the five-day school week in March (http://www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=2445), private institutes have seen an increase in business as parents are keen to send their children for extra study.
Each of the three institutes was caught reporting false income, teaching past the designated hours, and concealing the employment and dismissal of teachers. However, private institutes accepting boarding students during weekends were not found on Jeju, whereas 22 were caught nationwide, 11 in Gyeonggi province, six in Seoul, two in Gyeongnam province, and one each in Daegu, Chungnam, and Jeonnam.
Jeju recorded the lowest number of illegal institutes in the nationwide crackdown. One Jeju POE official who requested anonymity told The Weekly in a telephone interview that the close bond between Jeju residents might have worked as a deterrent to these kind of illegal business practises.
In a related story, Jeju City announced on June 13 that Jeju students recorded the highest average score in the 2012 College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT). Jeju has topped the CSAT score three years in a row. This is surprising because Jeju students, compared to students from big cities, lack information regarding the rigors of university entrance exams. The island’s success is being interpreted as a result of the teacher’s dedication and student’s enthusiasm for learning.
Jeju’s pre-high school education system, university consulting team, and the Modadeulung (Jeju dialect meaning “to gather up here”) Project mainly contributed to this result. Jeju is providing pre-high school education for middle school graduates during winter vacation. Jeju is the only area in Korea enacting the pre-high school education system. This program was first implemented in 2010 with an investment of 270 million won to assist students to effectively manage their time. Also, a university consulting project, which consists of 54 teachers working since 2007, was established to give university entrance information to students and parents. The Modadeulung Project is a team-teaching project to lessen the knowledge gap among students.
It is expected that Jeju City will put forth more effort to crack down on illegal private academies, while at the same time strengthening its public education to maintain its record.
(With reporting by Kim Gwan Tae and Go Gyeong Yeop, Headline Jeju reporters)
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