“It’s a 5-year-old school entrance… just thinking about it makes me dizzy.”



This is the first reaction that came out of an open chat room where mothers of the same age were gathered as soon as the issue of '5-year-old admission' brought up by the Ministry of Education came up.

Presumably, the use of the expression 'dizzy' seems to contain the meaning of relief that 'it would be terrifying if such a thing happened' and 'fortunately, such a situation was avoided'.



I strongly agree with the saying 'it's dizzy just thinking about it'.

The reporter is raising twins who are 7 years old this year and have entered elementary school.

He was prepared to hear a story close to the 'ghost story' of acquaintances who experienced his child's elementary school admission, but the reality was more than a ghost story.

First of all, the children's dismissal time is more than 4 hours earlier than when they went to kindergarten.

For a dual-income couple, the 'care gap' is close to fear.

In the case of daycare centers and kindergartens, the children are looked after from 6 to 7 pm, but in the case of the first graders of elementary school, if they cannot enter the care class, someone has to look after the children after 12 or 1 pm.

When the children went to daycare, they briefly received help from their mother, who lived 40 minutes away.

However, as she entered elementary school and the children's dismissal time was faster, her mother brought up the story that it was not easy to be out all day after her father, who was battling a disease.

(Let's put aside the apologies for the mother, who has grown old to take care of her forty-year-old daughter.) The 'child care service' applied to the ward office in April is still on standby.

It is difficult to hire a private babysitter due to circumstances, and in the end, the children hang around the academy around the house until their father and mother leave work.



In any case, it is the parents' situation, and the child's adjustment to school is also a problem.

In the 'latte' that the reporter went to at the national school, it seems like he did everything right in the first year, but children find it difficult to sit for 40 minutes in class.

One guy is still not good at using chopsticks, and he can't even clean the toilet well.

But when he was a year younger, he went to school…

It's terrifying just thinking about it.



What do you think of the school system reform proposal to advance the elementary school entrance age by one year?



Q. If the admission age is lowered, I will



1) admit a 5-year-old child


2) No





(※ Voting function is not supported on the portal. It is available on



the SBS News website or app.)

As you may have said, the reporter's choice is number two.

The '5-year-old elementary school entrance' card that appeared suddenly

Most of the responses from parents and teachers to the cards brought out by the government were 'suddenly'.

The Ministry of Education has announced that it will lower the elementary school enrollment age from 6 to 5 from 2025.

This content was not included in the promises made by President Yoon Seok-yeol or the task of the Presidential Transition Committee.

The story first came out last week in a report from the Ministry of Education to President Yoon Seok-yeol.

The nation's largest teachers' organization, the metropolitan and provincial offices of education in charge of elementary, elementary and secondary education, and the chairman of the National Assembly's education committee said they only knew after seeing the announcement.



The government explained the background of this policy as 'to close the gap by allowing all children to receive the high-quality education provided by the country earlier.'

The difference between daycare and kindergarten education until they enter elementary school is different.

However, opposition from parents and education circles is growing more and more.



The government took a step back as the protests continued to grow.

He said that he would come up with measures to prevent a sudden increase in the number of students enrolled at once.

Following the Prime Minister, even President Yoon came forward and asked the Ministry of Education to listen carefully to the opinions of parents and teachers.

The Ministry of Education also said that nothing has been decided yet, and said that it would listen to the opinions of students and parents through surveys, etc., and also take into account the opinions of experts. It also indicated that it could be abandoned, saying that the public may have to do it if they don't want it.

In just one week, the government's position has changed like this.



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Will early admission close the 'education gap'?

The background of the promotion proposed by the Ministry of Education is to 'resolve the educational gap on the starting line at an early stage' by incorporating children into public education at an early stage.

Park Soon-ae, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, said, "There is a study showing that the effect of investment in education for infants and children in elementary school (compared to adulthood) is 16 times greater." "(The lowering of the schooling age) It is an expression of the will of the state to take responsibility so that they can study.”

The purpose of the implementation is persuasive.

But parents think differently.

It is argued that private education will intensify as competition intensifies.


"Don't you think about the age-reducing children who have been admitted for 4 years when applying for college? Competition for college entrance exams increases by a whopping 25%. That's a whopping 4 years. "It is obvious that it is inevitable. We have to start education for entrance exams from elementary school. Only the private education market will grow tremendously. Unless we increase the quota of universities by 25%, this policy is very inconsistent with equity."


- Excerpts from parenting-related communities



If the school system reorganization is carried out according to the government plan, some of the children born in 2019 will enter elementary school a year earlier than before.

Due to limitations in the supply and demand of teachers or school space, it is likely to advance the enrollment year for 25% of the students over 4 years.

Minister Park Soon-ae explained at a briefing in advance of her work report on the 29th of last month, "It was calculated that 25% of each can be accommodated at the current facility."




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However, as parents objected to the fact that children with a difference of up to 15 months go to the same grade, they took action.

Deputy Prime Minister Park said, "It is possible to advance the schooling age by one month every year for 12 years."



There are also voices in the education field that early admission will encourage early private education.

In particular, in the case of infants at this age, there is a large developmental gap even with a difference of 1 to 2 months.

There are concerns that the stress of 5-year-olds will increase in basic life, peer relationships, and learning, and parents may be left behind, which may only increase the burden of private education in the early stages.

Some point out that early childhood education should be made free of charge rather than lowering the elementary school entrance age in order to bridge the educational gap.


I can enroll early...

Why not?

There are things you will never understand until you experience it.

Her friend, whose due date was December 10, said, "I definitely want to have a baby in January," and stayed in bed for three weeks.

In the end, she succeeded in making her child's birthday January 1 of the following year.

When asked why she didn't want to have children in December, her friend shared her experience.

"I was born in December, and until the lower grades of elementary school, I was short in stature and inferior to my friends who had earlier birthdays. Even though I was in the same class, my friends who had birthdays earlier were like older sisters. When I was young, several months were not a big deal."

At that time, she could not understand what her friend was saying, but as she gives birth to and raises a child, she nods her head.



There are many couples who actually plan to give birth at the beginning of the year.

The number of babies born in January last year was 24,909, 50% more than the number of babies born in December (17,084) a month earlier.

It is because of the concern that the later the child's birthday, the more likely he will be behind his peers who are of the same age.

According to the government's original plan, in 2025, people born on January 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019 could take classes together in the same classroom.

Are there any parents who would like to live in the same class with older sisters who are 15 months apart?



Malcolm Gladwell's book <Outliers> contains data analyzing the birthdays of players from prestigious Canadian ice hockey clubs.

When we analyzed the birthdays of players from prestigious youth clubs, 40% of all players were born between January and March.

Only 10% of players were born between November and December.

The difference of a few months for growing children is a difference in physique and physical strength that cannot be ignored, and the difference in physique is absolutely advantageous in player selection and training opportunities.




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Early admission is still possible depending on individual choice.

According to Article 13 (2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, children aged 5 or 7 can enter.

This means that if an individual chooses, early or deferred admission is possible.

However, perhaps because of the aforementioned concerns, not many parents prefer early admission.

According to the Korea Educational Development Institute, the number of people who enter elementary school early in 2009 peaked at 9,707 in 2009, but fell to 537 last year.

Rather, the number of children with deferred admission was higher at 757.



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When the school-age lowering policy was announced, child-rearing cafes even said, "Admission will be deferred by any means."

In particular, parents who are raising children born in the 'integration period' such as those born in January-March 2019 and those born in January-June 2020 are continuing to complain.

A member of a cafe who is raising a child born in March 2019 said, "If the law is passed, there will be a 13 month difference from January 2018, but they will be in the same grade. said


Is lowering the entry age a global trend?

Minister Park Soon-ae said in a briefing before the Ministry of Education's work report, regarding the lowering of the schooling age, "When looking at cases around the world, most countries enter from age 4 and countries enter from age 5."

However, among the 38 OECD member countries, only 4 UK countries (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland) accept the age of five, and 26 countries have adopted the age of six.

On the other hand, the number of countries that start elementary education at the age of 7 is rather higher in eight countries: Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.



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Even in the four British countries that say they enter at the age of 5, they do not enter the first year of elementary school.

A kind of preparatory course below the first year is included in public education.

In the UK, a nursery course for children aged 3 to 4 and a reception course for children aged 4 to 5 are operated free of charge.

However, in the government's plan to lower the elementary school entrance age, there are no specific details on support for the elementary school preparatory course.

This is the reason why parent groups and education circles criticize it as 'sloppy administration'.


Did you look at the existing analysis?... "Educationally not persuasive"

There have been several proposals in the past to lower the elementary school entrance age to five.

Each time, various research institutes presented the results of analysis and opinion polls.

It is pointed out that if the Ministry of Education had confirmed the existing research, it would have avoided criticism of the hasty implementation.



The Korea Educational Development Institute (KEDI) published a report titled 'Analysis of Issues in School System Reorganization' in February 2017 when the issue of school system reorganization became controversial ahead of the 19th presidential election.

One of the ways to promote the school system reform, which includes making compulsory kindergarten education two years and reducing the elementary school grade system to five years, is the main goal of lowering the schooling age to five.



The report explained the pros and cons of the need for 5-year-old admission by dividing it into socio-economic, political, and educational logic.

I thought that it was positive because it could attract young people to advance into society, so that industrial manpower could be expanded early.



However, in terms of developmental psychology, he pointed out that establishing a child's emotional bond and self-identity should take priority.

Most of the elementary school teachers said that it was difficult to guide 5-year-olds when they entered the school, and most of the early childhood teachers expressed dissenting opinions.

He also concluded, "Early graduation does not guarantee a job, and there is no evidence that the employment rate will increase if you leave a year earlier," he concluded.

Similar conclusions were also obtained in the previous report, 'Measures to Reorganize the School System for Future Society', prepared by the Korea Educational Development Institute twice in 2006 and 2007.



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The policy of raising the school age to five has been attempted several times by the government in the past.

In 1993, during the Kim Young-sam administration, the Democratic Party of Korea proposed to lower the age of entry into public schools from 6 to 5, but it did not lead to a policy.

In 2007, the Roh Moo-hyun administration pushed for a plan to lower the school age to 5 in the 'Vision 2030 Human Resource Utilization Strategy' and to reorganize the March semester system from the September semester system, but this also failed due to criticism.

In 2009, during the Lee Myung-bak administration, the Presidential Committee for the Future Planning came up with the same content as a measure to solve the problem of low fertility.

In 2015, during the Park Geun-hye administration, the government and the ruling party also talked about entering a 5-year-old as a countermeasure to the low birth rate and aging problem, but the opposition from the Ministry of Education was in vain.

This means that it is not an easy policy to implement.


What do people think?

3 out of 4 say no

Opinion polls also show an overwhelming majority of dissenting opinions.

KBC Gwangju Broadcasting and UPI News commissioned Next Week Research, an opinion polling agency, and conducted a two-day survey on the 2nd and 3rd, the negative evaluation of the school system reform proposal to lower the elementary school entrance age to 5 years old was overwhelming compared to the positive evaluation. 19.7% of respondents answered 'agree' and 76% answered 'disagree'.



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The views of teachers in the field of education were not significantly different.

In an emergency survey conducted by the Korea Federation of Teachers' Associations on the 1st, it was found that 95% of the teachers were against entering the elementary school at the age of 5.

Among the dissenting opinions, the ratio of 'very dissatisfied' reached 89.1%, overwhelming negative sentiment.

91.1% of the respondents answered 'No' to the question 'If a teacher has a desire to enroll a 5-year-old child'.



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'I can't speak well, but I want to go to school sooner...

'

In particular, the reason parents of children born after 2019, the first generation of 5-year-old admissions, are more angry is that they are the generation that has been directly affected by the corona virus.

Due to the spread of Corona, language development is relatively delayed in many cases.

Even in daycare centers, wearing masks and using partitions to prevent infection delayed language development and did not receive proper education centered on play.

Parents are even more angry at the policy of admitting children who are already late by a year earlier.



In fact, as a result of a survey conducted last year by a civic group A World Without Worrying about Private Education on 1,451 directors, teachers, and parents of national and public daycare centers in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, 71.6% of daycare center directors and teachers and 68.1% of parents said, 'Corona has affected the development of children. ' he replied.



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On the 2nd, four days after the government announced the promotion of the school system, a parent group meeting was held at the government complex in Seoul.

Jung Ji-hyeon, co-representative of a world without worries about private education, who is also a parent of infants and toddlers, shed tears, saying, "The damage of education that is not appropriate for the developmental stage will be passed on to our children."

When Education Minister Park Soon-ae grabbed her by the arm and tried to comfort her, she shook off her hand, saying, "I'm not trying to be comforted."

In response to the fierce protest, Minister Park said, "I think that if (the public) is really not this policy, I think the policy can be abolished."



The protest movement from education circles, parents, and civic groups is getting stronger.

Educational groups' response to '5-year-old elementary school entrance' The

Korean Federation of Teachers



' Associations "It should be re-examined as it does not take into account the characteristics of early childhood development."



A world without worries about private education.



"Policy improvised in a closed room. A sample of desktop administration without knowing the school site at all"



National Public Kindergarten Teachers' Union "You will get tired of stress at an early age due to learning that does not fit the developmental period"



National Association of Private Kindergartens "Opinion and Research Accidentally announcing an education policy called the Centennial Zone without a course"


In response to the criticism of 'desk administration' without social discussion, the Ministry of Education took the position that it was 'a policy proposal derived from good intentions to minimize polarization by pulling the starting line of education'.

He also announced that he would make public discussions and continue discussions through various channels.

In the future, the Ministry of Education plans to hold meetings and public hearings with various actors including parents, academia and education circles to collect public opinion.

However, it seems that there are not many people who would agree with the explanation that "it is still under review and nothing has been decided" after collecting experts and public opinion, examining measures from various angles, and then stating the issues that should have been announced.



(Composition/Editing: Seon-i Jang / Content design: Ji-hye Jang, Ji-soo Ok)


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