Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hagwons Hassled by new law

Since none of the Korean news themed blogs ( The Marmot , Lost Nomad and Yeolchae ) picked this up I thought I'd mention this from the Korea Times yesterday.

Students who quit studying at private institutes will get refunds for their fees according to the days left in the school term.
The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development made the announcement yesterday. The practice will begin in March next year.

To date, students who paid a month tuition fee for lessons to private institutes could not get the fees refunded even though they gave up the lessons after a day. Only if private schools are unable to give the lessons, do they get the refunds according to the private institute law.

To correct the flaw in the current law, the revision bill allows students who give up the lessons to get refunds according to the days left if they claim the refund before two-thirds of the lesson days pass.

`It will help lift the financial burden of many parents caused by private education at the institutes,' said Yeo Jong-goo of the ministry.

Well, Mr Goo you must have no idea how to run a business. Boo hoo, those poor students, they give up after a day and they don't get any money back? No, too right, they shouldn't get their money back. The school still has to pay the teacher. What are they going to do if the whole class drops out? How can they pay the teacher if they have refunded all the fees they've just collected?

I'm sorry, if you sign up for a months worth of lessons and you can't make it, well you should have thought of that before you started. If you join and gym and then get tired after a couple of weeks, do they refund your fees and say 'There, There, we're sorry you couldn't manage it here's your cash back'. Funnily enough No. So why should schools have to pay back for students who give up?

Private language schools in Korea (hagwons) have got a pretty bad reputation, but if they are having to work under these laws then, for once, they do have my sympathy. (I am assuming this new law relates to private language schools, it was not clear in the article, and I've emailed the reporter to find out.)


Anonymous said...

I missed everything for the past few days. Too much Christmas shopping to be done.

Bryan Leung said...

Seeing things from a students prospective I can totally agree with you. Although many students would not, I believe that if students choose to drop out, it is their decision and they should pay for the consequences which is to fulfill their payments to the institution.

But I also believe if the student drops out within a week they should get partial refunds. Sometimes with schedule conflicts and course overload people tend to drop out within a couple of days. They should not be penalized fully if they drop out within 5 days. But after that, it is fair game.

Jon Allen said...

I think there are some valid reasons for dropping out of a course, but even then, rather than a cash refund, a credit note from the school, for the value of classes not taken to be used against other lessons would be fairer.