The Homework Police


On a wet Wednesday evening in Seoul, six government employees gather at the office to prepare for a late-night patrol. The mission is as simple as it is counterintuitive: to find children who are studying after 10 p.m. And stop them.'

In South Korea, a country where education trumps all, teenage rebellion doesn't take the form of saggy pants or experiments with beer. Instead, Korean teenagers spend their nights at hagwons, or 'shadow schools' where they navigate the rules of english grammar and learn math formulas to help them get ahead at school. A habit that the government how calls 'an addiction', claiming that is 'draining young minds and their parents pocketbooks.'

As a result, the country has now passed a curfew on all hagwons (which 74% of Koreans attend) and have put in place nightly club-style raids where a patrol catches wayward students who are breaking the law by studying too late.

While the Government offers financial rewards for anonymous tip-offs about secret studying centers, it is not clear if there are any consequences for the 'addicted' students. But if there are, I would love to see what the rehab facility looks like.