The Ups and Downs of Hagwons as Childcare in South Korea


Throughout the world, childcare is something that most parents worry about. Who will take care of the children? How will I work? What can they do to keep themselves busy? These are the types of questions that parents ask themselves all the time.

In South Korea, this is taken to the next level and most parents opt to send their children to Hagwons instead of traditional childcare services.

What is a Hagwon?

So, what exactly is a hagwon? That is something that a lot of people ask when they first hear the name. I think we should first shed some light on that. A hagwon, or academy, is a private after-school center that provides additional education to students in South Korea. As such, it has become very popular among parents.

The use of hagwons as child care centers is a reflection of the high demand for education in South Korea.

In the country’s highly competitive and exam-oriented education system, parents often feel pressure to provide their children with every possible advantage. This has led to a proliferation of hagwons, which offer a wide range of academic programs and services.

While hagwons are primarily intended to enhance students’ academic performance, many parents also view them as a way to provide their children with a safe and structured environment during after-school hours. In South Korea, it is not uncommon for both parents to work long hours, leaving little time for child care.

Pros of Hogwons as Childcare

Hagwons offer a convenient solution, with many operating from early in the morning until late in the evening. It allows parents to drop off and pick up their children at their convenience.

As someone who works at a hagwon, this is something that is becoming more common, especially with parents who expect way more from teachers than their job involves.

Cons of Hagwons as Childcare

Moreover, the use of hagwons as a form of child care has raised concerns among some individuals. Whether it’s a hagwons effectiveness, cost, or the fact that children may be overworked, parents seem to not care and continue sending their children to academies every day, even when they have spent the majority of the day in various academic programs which leave very little time for the students to play, have fun, or relax.

Despite these concerns, the use of hagwons as child care remains a popular option in South Korea. For parents in South Korea, academies provide their children with both academic support and a safe environment after school. In addition, some hagwons have adapted to the needs of working parents by offering more comprehensive childcare services, including meals, homework assistance, and transportation.


Overall, the use of hagwons as child care in South Korea reflects the complex and competitive nature of the country’s education system. While there are concerns about the impact of hagwons on children and families, there is also recognition that these institutions play an important role in meeting the diverse needs of parents and students.

As South Korea continues to grapple with the challenges of modernization and globalization, the role of hagwons in child care and education is likely to remain a subject of debate and discussion.

Are you a Hagwon teacher in South Korea? If so, achieving a positive work-life balance may be a struggle. Click Here for tips on how to balance your life a bit better.

🇺🇸 James Maines

My name is James and I am a writer, traveler, and teacher living in South Korea.