SEOUL - After a gruelling six hours of learning at her South Korean state elementary school, eight-year-old Ho You-Jin heads home - but not to rest.
She picks up a new set of textbooks and sets off for a private cram school, known as a hagwon, to pack in another five or six hours of learning.
"I am used to spending so much time studying, but still I am tired after hagwon and homework," she said.
You-Jin's school day is standard in South Korea, an education-obsessed and highly competitive nation which stops traffic and delays flights for the annual university entrance examination.
Education fever takes a heavy social and economic toll, with the costly private cram schools blamed for driving poor households into debt and stressing out young children.
Parents in the nation of almost 50 million poured 21.6 trillion won (S$25.9 billion) into private education last year despite the economic downturn, according to government data.
The central bank complained last year the spending was hampering efforts to boost private consumption and economic growth.
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