SEOUL, July 29 (Korea Bizwire) — More than a third of elementary and secondary school students in South Korea will be provided with opportunities for special supplementary classes to make up for their COVID-19-related learning losses, the government said Thursday.
The Ministry of Education said it will spend about 800 billion won (US$698 million) until next year to deal with the learning deficit faced by young students due to the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.
Under the program, an estimated 2.03 million students at elementary, middle and high schools nationwide, slightly over a third of all students, will be offered special supplementary lessons by teachers and pre-service teachers outside of school hours or during vacations, the ministry said.
Civic activists have long claimed that acute decreases in offline classes caused by the spread of COVID-19 appear to have greatly impacted the academic achievements of elementary and secondary school students.
For instance, domestic middle and high schools, which have shifted to online classes for many months last and this year to stem the coronavirus pandemic, saw students in the middle level group shrink significantly, they contended.
Announcing a basic plan for comprehensive educational recovery, Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hae said about 2.03 million students, three to six times the estimated number of students who belong to the lowest “deficient” category, will receive supplementary lessons, tutoring and consulting to fill in their learning, psychological and social deficits.
In particular, pre-service teachers from education colleges will be led to offer tutoring, while experienced middle and high school teachers will provide one-on-one learning consulting.
Meanwhile, the education ministry said it will spend a total of 3 trillion won by 2024 to reduce the number of overcrowded classes with more than 28 students per class.