South Korea: South Korea's government is set to unveil plans on Monday aimed at reining in the country's increasing spending on private education, which has been blamed for contributing significantly to the country's dropping fertility rate.
The decision comes after President Yoon Suk Yeol this month criticised college admission exams for containing topics not included in public school curriculum, including several termed "killer questions" owing to their complexity.
South Koreans spent a record 26 trillion won ($19.97 billion) on private education last year, despite a declining student population, a joint report by the education ministry and the government statistics bureau showed.
According to the report, nearly eight out of ten students attend private institutions such as cram schools known as "hagwons."
According to a research published last year, South Korea has the highest expense of raising a child in the world, as well as the lowest birth rate.
Shares of education-linked companies in South Korea fell early Monday on caution ahead of the government's announcement.
Woongjin Thinkbig fell more than 2% to near five-month lows, while Multicampus and MegaStudyEdu lost about 1% each.
The education ministry is expected on Monday to define and give examples of "killer questions" and order them to be removed from this year's tests, which are scheduled for November.
Public schools do not normally cover such questions, opening the door for "hagwons" to promote their ability to teach students the skills to solve them.
Proponents of such questions say they help colleges select candidates in a competitive environment, but Yoon cited the issue of fairness, noting not every family could afford to pay for expensive extracurricular classes.
Shin So-young, an activist at civic group, The World Without Worry About Private Education, said the changes planned by authorities may not be enough to contain the high competition in the education system.
"The government needs to come up with a broader plan that addresses the question of how to alleviate this excessive competition to get into a few of the best universities," said Shin.