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Impact of the Free Learning Semester (FLS) on Private-Tutoring Investment


  • Park, Yoonsoo


- Analysis on the impact of the Free Learning Semester (FLS) on the private-tutoring investment for middle school students revealed a significant increase among high-income households. - This study used data on 178,213 middle school students drawn from Statistics Korea's 2009-2016 Private Tutoring Expenditure Survey. - No meaningful impact was observed overall but high-income households (over 6 million won monthly) exhibited yearly increases of 15.2%p and 1.79 million won in the participation in and expenditure on private tutoring. - Such increases are due to high-income households' easy access to private tutoring and high demand in terms of tutoring for admissions and advance learning. - The FLS reduces the hours spent on academic courses. Therefore, it is easier for students from higher-income households to substitute the loss with private tutoring. - Also, the FLS alleviates students' burden of managing their grade point average (GPA), which could increase the demand for private tutoring for admissions and/or advance learning. This is particularly true among higher-income households. - The above results indicate that the FLS―designed to help students explore future career paths and facilitate the development of non-cognitive skills―could widen the education gap between income groups through private tutoring. - Better quality programs are needed to supplement the cutback in academic courses in order to ease parental concerns. At the same time, more after-school programs should be introduced to assure students who have little access to private tutoring with ample educational opportunities. - Relevant polices must be designed bearing in mind that if they are not aligned with parents' needs, the biggest casualties will be low-income students who are unable to afford private tutoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Park, Yoonsoo, 2018. "Impact of the Free Learning Semester (FLS) on Private-Tutoring Investment," KDI Policy Forum 269, Korea Development Institute (KDI).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kdifor:269
    DOI: 10.22740/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kawaguchi, Daiji, 2016. "Fewer school days, more inequality," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 35-52.
    2. Hai-Anh Dang & F. Halsey Rogers, 2008. "The Growing Phenomenon of Private Tutoring: Does It Deepen Human Capital, Widen Inequalities, or Waste Resources?," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank, vol. 23(2), pages 161-200, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shin, Yoosik, 2022. "The impacts of the Free Semester program on students’ exam nervousness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 44(C).

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