SEJONG, Feb.10 (Korea Bizwire) – A recent study has revealed that higher income groups spend eight times more money on education per month compared to lower income groups. Considering that education is often seen as a means to improving social status, some are concerned that the wide disparity in education expenditures is leading to a rigid social structure, and making upward social mobility much more difficult.
According to the ‘2015 Q3 Household Survey’, the average amount of money spent per month by fifth quintile households in the third quarter of 2015 was 627,700 won, which was 7.8 times more than what the first group spent, which was 80,200 won per month.
The proportion of education costs in total household spending for the fifth group reached 15.4 percent, but was only 6.2 percent in the first group. Spending in the fifth group was larger than the first group in all categories, but education showed the largest gap.
The problem is that the gap in education costs is getting wider and wider.
In 2010, average education expenditures per month by the fifth group were 6.3 times larger than the first group, and in 2011 they were reported to be 6.1 times higher.
However, the gap widened in 2012 to 6.5 times, before hitting 6.6 times in 2013 and 7.9 times in 2014.
Education expenses are not devoted to a basic need, and are variable based on the economic status of a household.
Experts point out that the difference in educational expenditures is getting larger compared to other categories, and the widening gap is not a desirable phenomenon.
Researcher Lee Joon-hyup of the Hyundai Economy Research Center points out that most of the money is being spent on personal education. “This means that a child can have different educational opportunities depending on economic status. Having a large gap in education opportunities could be seen as resulting in lower social mobility.”
Lee added that measures should be taken to strengthen public education so that educational opportunities can be evened out.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)