SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Six in 10 South Koreans believe they cannot move up the social ladder even though they have a chance for better education and jobs, a survey showed Wednesday.
The biennial poll released by Statistics Korea showed that 60.6 percent of the surveyed think there is a low possibility that their social and economic status will improve.
This marked a decrease from the 64.9 percent in 2019, but still, more than 60 percent of those aged 19 and above remained pessimistic about a chance to climb the social ladder.
Four in 10 South Koreans think they belong to the low class in terms of social and economic status.
The poll showed 53.8 percent believe their children cannot ascend to a higher social status, down from 55.5 percent two years earlier.
The survey underscores deepening social disparity between haves and have-nots amid the prolonged economic slowdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also aggravated income inequality as the economic recovery remains uneven across sectors, known as K-shaped recovery.
Meanwhile, more than half of South Koreans think an increase in online classes by schools is the biggest setback among changes in lifestyle caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey showed 50.5 percent of those surveyed said they negatively assessed a rise in online education, and 14.8 percent said online classes will likely accelerate down the road.
South Korea has ordered schools to conduct online classes full-time or run them along with in-person classes, depending on virus situations, in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at schools.
Schools across the country will begin fully resuming in-person classes on Nov. 22 in line with the “living with COVID-19″ scheme meant to bring the country gradually back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The survey showed 92 percent of people aged under 18 have received online classes since the onset of the pandemic early last year. Among them, 60.7 percent said virtual classes were not effective.
As for reasons why online education is not effective, nearly 21 percent said schools are not well prepared to set up online classes, followed by unsatisfactory content with 19 percent.
The survey showed the pandemic negatively affected social interactions, except for ties with family members.
It showed 12.9 percent of the respondents said the relationship with their family members got better due to the pandemic, slightly higher than the 12.7 percent who said their ties with family soured.
But more than 35 percent said their relations with relatives, neighbors and close friends became distant due to the pandemic.
Nearly 92 percent of the surveyed think strengthening sanitary measures, such as washing hands and mask wearing, are the most positive change in their lives amid the pandemic.
The statistics agency conducted the social survey on social welfare, labor and others on some 36,000 people between May 12 and 27. In regard to pandemic-related questions, there were no comparable 2019 figures.