The Social Effects of Higher Education Policy in South Korea: The Rise of the "Pig Mum" phenomenon

Lee, Eugene;Calonge, David Santandreu;Hultberg, Patrik

  • Published : 2019.07.22


The contemporary educational system in South Korea is built on high-stakes standardised tests, a manifestation of the national project of social reconstruction and reform. One recent outcome is the emergence of an unfamiliar yet ubiquitous phenomenon: the "pig mum"; a Korean parent who is fully involved in organising, scheduling and managing the educational process from primary to secondary school for a group of children in a neighbourhood. Based on a quasimixed method utilizing a survey of a group of students and parents, this pilot study explores the "pig mum" phenomenon and its linkage to education policy. The authors conclude that the current educational policy fails to achieve the ideals it professes to value. This creates deep and negative societal norms that endanger a growing generation of students by creating a parallel private education market environment where "pig mums" thrive.


Education Policy;Higher Education;South Korea;Pig Mum