The Korea Herald


Gangnam, Seocho districts see rise in first-year middle schoolers

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Feb. 5, 2024 - 15:16

    • Link copied

(123rf) (123rf)

Amid the shrinking school population, the two affluent neighborhoods in South Korea known for their excellent academics saw a spike in enrollment for first-year middle schoolers, reflecting parents’ zeal to provide better educational opportunities for their children, government data showed Monday.

A total of 9,654 middle first-year students were assigned to schools in Gangnam and Seocho areas, both south of Seoul, a 1.36 percent increase, or up 130 students from last year’s figure of 9,524, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

The increase appears to be due to students preparing to gain admission to elite public schools through the high school placement system, which is based on where they live, or to enter private high schools excelling academically, the education office explained.

Strong college outcomes are also another reason for growing enrollment in the Gangnam and Seocho areas.

One in 10 first-year students at the nation’s top school, Seoul National University, or 10.4 percent of the freshmen population, were high school graduates from the southern region in 2022, according to data released by Rep. Seo Dong-yong from the Democratic Party of Korea.

In contrast, the waning birth rate has taken a toll on schools in Eunpyeong-gu, Mapo-gu and Seodaemun-gu, where the tally for new first-year middle school students dropped by 436 in total. Gwangjin-gu and Seongdong-gu saw a slip in 20 students overall.

Meanwhile, the enrollment number for middle school first grades this year is 66,030, down 1,326 from last year’s 67,356, according to the education office.