“I Learned It From You, Mom!”

When I taught college students as a graduate instructor and later high school students, plagiarism via internet-based homework/essay services was becoming fairly common.  However, South Korea has taken it to another level.  Say hello to homework agencies:

“These days, many parents like Lee are losing confidence in typical hagwon – cram schools that prepare students for college entrance exams – and believe they are no longer enough to turn their children into top performers. And their drive to see their children succeed is where so-called homework agencies have found a new niche. There are a total of 40 websites like the one Lee found. And these agencies, while still not as prevalent as hagwon, are gaining momentum among busy mothers and stressed out students, charging clients between 20,000 won and 70,000 won per assignment.

Many of the agencies specialize in subjects not typically covered in private academies. The most common services are for fine arts projects, which are generally more time consuming.

Most parents believe time spent working on these types of projects takes away from the time their child could be using to study for exam-centered subjects, like English and math.”

It must be rough to be an art or music teacher in Korea.  I’ve been told with a straight face by parents here that those subjects aren’t just a waste of time, but actually take away from valuable minutes spent on math and English, the two most important parts of the Korean version of the S.A.T.

What’s crazy of course is that it sounds like the parents are driving the demand for these agencies, not the students themselves.

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