[South Korea] The National Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that aims to prevent Korean students from taking school courses beyond their regular academic schedule.
Rep. Kang Eun-hee of the Saenuri Party, who proposed the bill with Rep. Lee Sang-min of the Democratic Party, said Korean students are often forced to study subjects for subsequent semesters in advance at school or private institutes, known as hagwon. The widespread practice, even involving elementary school students, is meant to boost their chances for admission to elite schools.
The excessive competition leads to more difficult entrance exams by higher level education institutes, which in turn pushes students to study more courses in advance. Rep. Kang said the practice is a main factor driving up the already heated private education system in Korea, spawning a profitable market valued at 19.4 trillion won ($17.9 billion) per year.