There’s about $10 billion won a year (mind you, 50% of that is going to brokers who line up the students with schooling and homestay families) being spent by Korean families to send their children abroad to study foreign languages. And the surge has increased even more due to the new government’s aggressive plans for English prioritization in Korea. But the govt also wants to curtail the amount of money leaving the country for overseas education. The Korea Times and other Korean-language news media is abuzz with news that the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will be administering exams to see if the returning students can measure up to the Korean curriculum that they should have had for the grade level they are hoping to move up to. Which is guaranteed that they won’t, given that they’ve been studying in the western public curriculum. This has triggered a panic amongst families who have kids studying abroad or planning to send them overseas. The government is trying to downplay it, by indicating that the tests won’t be too hard. Either way, the government knows how much of a kneejerk reaction that parents give when even the tiniest sliver of education policy is announced and one can only expect that the English craze will become more domestic as a trade-off to ensure their kids don’t get held back a year, if they don’t cram for Korean Studies while overseas. Expect more hagwons to pop-up, plus teacher wages to rise (more likely the per hour rate for privates will rise, while hagwon salaries might move up a smidge over time), but the already expensive English camps during summer and winter will be the biggest benefactor.