Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gold in them thar Hagwons

In Korea, teachers can make big bucks, by catering to their customers' needs;
Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country's private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.
Most of these tutors don't do nearly so well, but the children do;
Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.
When poor work slips are given out, it's the teachers receiving them;
Competing hagwons routinely try to poach one another's celebrity tutors. "The really good teachers are hard to retain—and hard to manage. You need to protect their egos," says Lee Chae-yun, who owns a chain of five hagwons in Seoul called Myungin Academy.
....It is about as close to a pure meritocracy as it can be, and just as ruthless. ....
Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students' test-score growth and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents. 
...."Students are the customers," Ms. Lee says.
Say, now, there's an idea.

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