Making Education Reform Happen: Removal of Education Bubble through Education Diversification

Lee, Ju Ho

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During the period from 2008 to 2013, Korea pushed ahead with education diversification reforms to overcome the education bubble which immensely increased private tutoring expenditure and produced college graduates receiving lower wages than high school graduates. Private tutoring expenditure declined after 2010 and the college advancement rate also declined by more than 12 percent points from 2008 to 2012. I demonstrate that for countries like Korea, where excessive focus on cognitive skills led to the formation of the education bubble, it is important to improve the quality of education institutions that emphasize non-cognitive skills through education diversification. I show that Korean education reform focused on policies designed to reinforce horizontal differentiation and actively lessen the financial burden of education expenditure, along with other education reform policies usually stressed by other countries to enhance the quality of education. I also show that major strategies for overcoming political economic obstacles pertaining to education diversification reform were opening-up strategies that opened education to industry, parents, new players, countries abroad, and other ministries, together with crisis-management strategies that transformed not only the overall sense of crisis among parents and the public but also incidences of small crises into significant reform opportunities.

Issue Date
KDI School of Public Policy and Management
Series Title
KDI School Working Paper 14-05
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