Private costs for public education have fallen below two percent of GDP for the first time since 1996, but Korea still ranks third in the OECD for the amount parents have to fork over.
The costs include tuition, lunches and other expenses from kindergarten to university. The higher the proportion shouldered by parents and students, the poorer the standing of a country’s education system.
The OECD on Thursday released a survey of 35 member nations plus 11 non-members, which showed that the private burden in Korea stood at 1.9 percent of GDP, down 0.1 percentage point compared to the previous year, but far higher than the OECD average of 0.7 percent.
The worst was Chile and the U.S. came second.
Korea ranked first until 2014 but fell to No. 2 last year. The Education Ministry attributed the fall in private costs to doubling state scholarships.
Meanwhile, a declining number of students has resulted in a drop in the student-to-teacher ratio and the number of students per class.
As of 2014, there was one teacher for every 16.9 elementary school students, 16.6 middle school students and 14.5 senior high school students, down 0.4, 0.9 and 0.6 from the previous year.