‘5 million’ elementary, middle, and high school students will fall by 2026 | Segye Ilbo

‘5 million’ elementary, middle, and high school students will fall by 2026 |  Segye Ilbo

Educational Development Institute announces student number estimate

‘Sudden’ from 5.13 million to 4.83 million in 2024
By 2029, the number will decrease by nearly 1 million.
The number of first-year elementary school students will also drop to 300,000 by 2026.
Aftermath of low birth rate, school-age population cliff becomes visible
The number of teachers has also decreased… 4,000 people this year alone ↓

“I heard there are only 24 students in my brother’s class. When I attended, there were about 34 to 35 people… .”

Mr. Jeong (25), who lives in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, was surprised when he heard the number of students in the class while talking with his youngest brother, who was in his third year of high school. This is because the number of students in each class at her brother’s school was less than 25. “She heard that other classes usually have between 23 and 28 students,” said Jeong. “She was surprised to see that the number of students in one class had decreased by 10 in just seven years.”

At an elementary school, a prospective student is waiting to register. yunhap news

The low birth rate is worsening and the school-age population cliff is becoming more visible. It is predicted that the number of elementary, middle, and high school students nationwide will decrease every year, falling to 5 million by 2026.

According to the ‘2024-2029 estimate of the number of elementary, middle, and high school students’ by the Ministry of Education and the Korea Educational Development Institute (KEDI) on the 12th, the number of elementary, middle, and high school students nationwide this year, which is 5,131,218, will decrease to 4,833,026 in 2026. .

The estimated number of students is a figure calculated by applying the enrollment rate, graduation rate, promotion rate, and advancement rate to the 6-year-old population by city and province based on resident registration demographics, etc.

The number of students nationwide is decreasing every year and is expected to decrease by nearly 1 million by 2029. The number of students, which was in the 5.13 million range this year, decreased to 5.01 million next year and will enter the 4 million range for the first time in 2026. The Korea Educational Development Institute predicts that the number of students will decrease to 4,655,267 in 2027, 4,483,013 in 2028, and 4,275,022 in 2029.

By grade, the decline in the number of first-year elementary school students is particularly noticeable. The number of first-year elementary school students, expected to be 347,950 this year, is expected to decrease to 319,935 next year and 290,686 in 2026. It falls below the 300,000 range in two years.

Across the country, the number of elementary schools closing due to lack of students is increasing every year. According to the Ministry of Education’s Local Education Finance Information, 17 schools closed in 2021, 19 schools in 2022, and 27 schools last year. By region, as of last year, 7 schools closed in Jeonbuk, followed by 6 schools in Gyeongbuk, 5 schools in Jeonnam, 3 schools each in Gangwon and Gyeonggi, 2 schools in Incheon, and 1 school in Gyeongnam.

This is not just a problem for local elementary schools. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, the number of students scheduled to enroll in elementary schools in Seoul this year is 59,492, a 10.3% decrease from the previous year (66,324).

Mr. A, a parent whose daughter attends a public elementary school in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, said, “There are about 11 to 12 students in each class,” and “There are less than 50 students in one grade altogether.” As Mr. A said, the total number of first-grade students at the elementary school (as of 2023) is 49, with an average of only 12 per class.

With the school-age population rapidly decreasing, the number of teachers is also bound to decrease. This year, the number of public school teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools is expected to decrease by more than 4,000.

According to the partial revision of the ‘Regulations on the quota of national civil servants in local educational administrative agencies and public schools at all levels’ that the government recently completed a legislative notice, the number of teachers in public elementary schools this year (148,683) was last year (146,559). Compared to , there is a decrease of 2,124 people. The number of middle and high school teachers is also scheduled to be reduced by 2,171, from 140,881 to 138,709.

Reporter Lee Min-kyung [email protected]

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This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.

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