Source : Korea Herald
March 13, 2009
The Education Ministry said yesterday it earmarked 207.2 billion won ($141 million) in extra budget this year to support college tuition payment, in addition to the 845.6 billion won set aside earlier.
The government plans to increase scholarships and cut interest rates for student loans as part of a comprehensive emergency relief package for low-income earners and the unemployed.
The Education Ministry said it will shoulder 10 percent of the interest payment this year for college loans taken out by some 720,000 students since the last spring semester. The interest rates for student loans range from 3.3 percent to 7.3 percent depending on the household income level. The rates will be cut by up to 1.5 percentage points in the fall semester, the ministry said.
Unemployed graduates will be allowed to defer their student loan payment for a year.
About 120 billion won will be offered in scholarships to 40,000 college students working in school this year, up from the previous plan of 36,500 students.
The government plans to financially assist colleges to hire 7,000 unemployed graduates as intern researchers and teaching assistants for six months and run career training programs for 75,000 graduates to help them get jobs.
The ministry also set aside an extra budget of 67 billion won to hire "intern teachers" and expand the internet protocol television system in schools, hoping to curb private education.
Metropolitan and provincial education offices will recruit a total of 10,500 intern teachers this year to assist regular schoolteachers in class and tutor underachieving students, according to the ministry.
The government expects the IPTV system in schools to lessen students' dependence on hagwon or private lessons by providing them with various educational content including EBS-TV programs anytime they want.