Monday, September 01, 2014 Headlines & Global News

South Korea Teacher Makes $4 Million A Year

By Bianca Facchinei | Aug 06, 2013 03:05 PM EDT

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(Representational pic) A senior high Tennessee school student was given in-school suspension for saying “bless you” to a classmate who sneezed. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

In South Korea, teachers are paid based on the demand for their skills, and Kim Ki-hoon has reached a salary of $4 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The harder I work, the more I make," Kim said. "I like that."

Kim is known as a "rockstar teacher" and has been teaching for over 20 years in private academics, known as hagwons. His schedule consists of 60-hour work weeks teaching English although only 3 of those hours are spent lecturing. His classes are recorded and available for purchase on the Internet at $4 per hour. The rest of his time is dedicated to answering requests for help online to his students, creating lesson plans, and writing textbooks and workbooks. He has authored 200 so far.

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On average, 150,000 kids watch his videos online per year. Kim has 30 employees to help him maintain his empire and also has a publishing company for his books.

Megastudy, the online hagwon that Kim is employed by, is listed on the South Korean stock exchange and is so profitable that it attracts investment firms like Goldman Sachs and A.I.G. Three out of four children participate in the private market and their parents spent more than $17 billion on their services in 2012. Meanwhile, Americans spent $15 billion on video games the same year.

Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate. Today, their 15-year-old students rank no. 2 in reading, behind no. 1 Shanghai, and 93 percent of high schoolers graduate. In the U.S., only 77 percent make it to graduation.

The tutoring industry has been growing across the globe from South Korea to Ireland to the U.S., offering after school lessons for an hourly rate or fee. However, no tutoring system has become as successful as the one in South Korea where tutors outnumber school teachers.

The Journal describes South Korea as an "academic superpower" as it encourages students to strive to success educationally. However, they also recognize the downfall, specifically on lower income families. 

Since tutors obviously cost money, their services create a "bidding war" on education for the richest families. Additionally, tutoring always takes place after school hours, making the studying and learning a much longer, tolling process on children and teenagers.

Kim makes the salary that only an investmant banker, actress, or professional athlete could make in the U.S. -- forget public school teachers.

Is it time for America to take notes from South Korea to reform our damaged public education system? Let us know what you think? 

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