Schools shutter amid slowing birthrate in South Korea
South Korea's population is dwindling at an alarming rate, as fewer babies are born in the country than most other developed nations.
As a result, school enrollments are plummeting, and many institutions are in danger of closing down because there are not enough students.
Seoul Jaedong Elementary School first opened its doors more than 120 years ago. At one point, over 4,000 children graced the school's halls, but now that figure has dwindled to about 200.
Smaller class sizes, however, do have their benefits.
"We can provide individual guidance catered to each student's skills and needs. And with smaller class sizes, what we've seen is students’ stress levels have declined,” said Cheong Han -Joo, the principal of the Seoul elementary school.
Education officials in Seoul considered combining or closing down schools with low student numbers. But instead, they have decided to use existing resources to offer students more diverse learning experiences away from the textbook.
Jaedong Elementary has staved off closure for the time being. However, experts warn, unless something is done to reverse the nation's falling birthrate, there might not be any students left to fill these vacant classrooms.