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No Children Left to Educate? No Problem: School Enrolls Illiterate Grandmas Instead

In many parts of rural South Korea, plummeting birth rate means that there aren’t enough children to fill a school. In order to save a local school from being shut down, the local education office decides to enroll older villagers that wanted to learn to read and write.

Not only has this move saved their school from being shut down, but it has also reinstated the elderly women's dreams of getting their education and grabbing new opportunities in town.

Choe Sang-Hun has the story over at The New York Times:

Every morning on her way to school, Hwang Wol-geum, a first grader, rides the same yellow bus as three of her family members: One is a kindergartner, another a third grader and the other a fifth grader.
Ms. Hwang is 70 — and her schoolmates are her grandchildren.
Illiterate all her life, she remembers hiding behind a tree and weeping as she saw her friends trot off to school six decades ago …
Help came unexpectedly this year from the local school that was running out of school-age children and was desperate to fill its classrooms with students.

Image: Chang W. Lee


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This is pretty common around these parts. New developments means young families and lots of schools. As children grow up and move away (and as housing costs increase) fewer children (and in my neighborhood, no children) need those schools. Many are converted to adult education. Some are designated for special education. Many are district/city/county office space.
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