South Korea may issue ban on English classes at kindergartens

South Korea's Ministry of Education is looking at banning English education in preschools, amid social arguments that preschoolers are stressed out from learning English and mathematics in preparation for elementary school.
South Korea's Ministry of Education is looking at banning English education in preschools, amid social arguments that preschoolers are stressed out from learning English and mathematics in preparation for elementary school. PHOTO: ETONHOUSE

SOUTH KOREA (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Local preschools and daycare centres might be banned from holding English classes under the Moon Jae In administration. 

The Ministry of Education unveiled the “Early Childhood Education Renovation Plan” Wednesday, expressing concerns over the current education system for preschoolers and younger children. 

According to the announcement, the ministry is looking at banning English education in preschools, amid social arguments that preschoolers are stressed out from learning English and mathematics in preparation for elementary school. 

A ministry official said, “The coming education plan will be focused on playing, rather than acquiring knowledge.” 

The new measure comes in line with the government’s aim to decrease early English education, in concern that intensive English learning in early childhoods would erode Korean roots. 

But some criticised the plan, saying that a ban will result in an increase of private English education. Many parents and after-school teachers held a protest last November, as the law banning English after-school classes for first and second graders at public schools will be enforced from March. 

The protesters argued that the decrease of public English education will only lead to the rise of private education fees, widening the economic gap.