South Koreans Are Crazy For Cramming

Pressure on students means cram schools are big business

Park Dae Hyon leaves his home in Seoul at dawn most days and doesn't return until after midnight. Boning up for college entrance exams, the 18-year-old South Korean spends 10 hours at school. Then comes the cramming: Park's five tutors teach him everything from English to math and science. For Park's parents, it's a pricey regimen. His school tuition is just $1,300 a year, but Park's tutors cost an additional $36,000. Add in his sister's tutors, and education costs Park's parents roughly half their income. "We know we're paying way too much," says Lim Myong Hee, Park's mother. "But their lives will be decided by the universities they go to."

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