The South Korean Education System
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The South Korean Education System



the certification process for teachers in Korea is one of the most rigorous academic courses in college a homeroom teachers responsibilities throughout all grade levels extend beyond the classroom this may include home visits as well as a responsibility of not only the academic welfare but the social and emotional welfare of each student using a lottery system all teachers principals and assistant principals are reassigned to a different school within their district for a four to five year term teaching is amongst the highest revered occupations in Korean society a teacher will always be respectfully addressed as teacher they will never be addressed by either first or last name either inside or outside the classroom by both students and parents a formal distance is always maintained Elementary School begins at 8:00 a.m. ends at 3:00 p.m. first and second graders attend 1/2 days they start at 8:00 a.m. and are dismissed after lunch middle school is 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. high school is 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. which includes mandatory study sessions schools are open until midnight to allow for independent studying in the homeroom or the library term 1 is March through July summer break being one month term 2 is September through February winter break is one and a half months students attend school approximately 192 days a year grade level advancement break is one to two weeks the curriculum is rigorous with as many as 13 subjects in a semester language arts reading math science Korean history world history English Fine Arts practical arts PE music ethics and world languages midterms and final exams count for approximately 70% of the grade homework is always given during the summer and winter breaks for students in all grade levels this includes a daily journal retentions are extremely rare at any grade level there are no high school graduation tests there is only one college entrance exam given nationwide on a specific date in November for all college bound students this exam is eight hours long no differentiation is given in levels for academic rigor all students in every grade are taught on level standardized tests are given throughout the school year for all grade levels South Korea is one of the leading innovators in integrating technology in the classroom school lunches are either catered or prepared by parents all lunches are served by parent volunteers and school staff cafeteria employees are only in charge of cleaning up after lunch students do not have recess however PE is a daily class at all grade levels custodians are responsible for building maintenance issues students are responsible for the care of their school bathrooms hallways classrooms and staircases are cleaned by students before the morning bell or in the afternoon shoes are only worn outside the home the shoe etiquette extends beyond the home and into the classroom students in school staff must remove their outdoor shoes and change into indoor slippers upon entering the building the majority of students attend after-school enrichment programs as a result many will attend hug one a private after school learning program to accelerate their learning elementary school students may attend various ones for sports arts as well as academic subjects middle school and high school students the concentration is solely on academic subjects due to extended school hours it is not uncommon for high school students to have dinner at school you

33 Comments

  • Luie Bernardo

    Being a middle schooler here in Philippines ( I currently live in Baguio City) is not that hard though. We start at 8:00 am, got our recess at 10:00 am – 10:45 am, got our lunch at 12:15 – 1:15 pm, and we also got that "Haustus" (idk to spell it bc it's a latin correct me if I'm wrong please. my school is a little bit religous so we have that thing😆) which is we have a another "recess" every 3:00pm in 15 min. Or we can have an independent learning. And we dismiss at 4:00 in the afternoon. And also, we have saturday class(9:00am-12:15pm) and night class (6-8pm)but it's optional, but most of us come when the exam is near though we don't have to be a failure to our parents😆 btw our teachers are sooooo awesome too. I mean, we're having fun at our room, like we're having joke time, laughing at each other etc. 😆

  • Tina S

    I think it is not the amount of time that counts but the quality of the students and the learning material. It should be interesting and I assume students go for subjects they have talent for. And if you do something you like it is not hardship but pleasure and interest.

  • JUMBO X

    People think 8 amto 4 pm is hell well read this
    6:45am to 5:00pm
    Punishment Canning on the but of the (back like what) Canning starts from Kindergarden
    Same meal in every school everyday
    3 weeks middle holidays
    Homework everyday
    The silibus is so long
    We had a topic on cattle which should be 4 pages
    We had 20+ pages I counted
    Last
    No fun activities
    Just learn ppl just learn
    This country is………………

  • Gundam Wing

    Ya know these Koreaans were sooo over educated and yet sooooo stupid to not have a life and with that kind of education, there weren't even enough jobs for them. Most of those College grads either end up unemployed or underemployed.

  • Prakriti R

    Well, wait till you come to India. some of our schools go from 7 am to 7 pm throughout the week and only Sunday is a half-day which is 7 am to 3 pm. Most of us go to a minimum of 3 tuition in addition to our classes (my friend goes for tuition classes at 3 am in the morning). We also need to fit it the category of being an all-rounder student which means that we need to focus on sports and music as well. I myself take 6 additional tuition classes and train in guitar as well as being hockey captain for our under 16 team.
    And speaking about competition, only the top 1% of students get into prestigious engineering, law and medical schools in India (which is literally every Indian parent's dream). This is one of the reasons many people commit suicide in our country. From my perspective these education system is just producing robots. Sorry, it's the truth, I don't mean any disrespect.

  • lenrfrjyatnrf

    those who wright that this system is too demanding, believe me it's much better to study like this and then develop and advance your country, attract investment, accelerate economic growth and progress, than to be lazy at school, no pressure, and then end up in a backward society, corruption, horrible infrastructure, no development, no money, crime, etc. Believe me, I know what i'm talking about. I am from one of the most corrupted countries in the world, very few puples care about education, everything is payed with bribes, as a result it's one of the worst places to live, people have to engage in nonqualified low payed jobs, although they were given a perfect chance to study and succeed in their live. And of course everybody is complaining and blaming the government, but the issue is within the people themselves.
    Cheers.

  • 개냥이

    I'd been study in Korea and Canada, and Korea education was really hell.

    Not all of school but most of hight school make students study more than 12 hours. 9AM starts study, and 10 PM was time to go to shool. Some of students join the academy instead of study in school after 4~5PM and they studied untill 1AM even their physical contion wasn' good. This is same to junior high school students who join the academy after school.

    During school trip, I still can't understand why but staff in the camp attach student's cell phone and punish them like military training system.

    In vocation, it was worse than study in school. Students went academy or have tutor instead of school and they did not have free time to join thier vocation or learn how to be happy.

    Before I study in Canada, I thought this is student's life for the future but I was wrong. No, Korea education was wrong.

    Canadian education style gave more choice for students to choose their subject what they want to learn, and students have free time after school and they could choose do their part time job, study more or enjoy their time with family.

    School trip was real trip and students do their study by themselves if they really wanted.

    It may as hard as do part time job instead of study in academy during vocation but they could learn how to live in society instead of studying like machine.

    Now a days, Korea new president Mr. Moon trynto change Korea education system like American style(It wss similar where I studied in Canada) but still problem is Korean adult do not know what students really need for their life instead of success way of study in school. There is no hope in Korea education before Korean adults learn other countries education values for students.

  • Isuru Lakpura

    Similar things go on in here, Sri Lanka. The school hours are't so bad. just 7 hours a day. But we get the same pressure since in here, the only way out of poverty is education. like… music and art doesn't pay you anything since people here don't have money for entertainment. But atleast SK has qualified teachers. we understand NOTHING our teachers say and extra tuition up till 10 in the night is a part of every students' life. starting from right after school. this adds up a big cost in addition to school fees. our test papers are made extremely out of syllabus and authorities take no notice. right now, we don't even have proper syllabuses. It's horrible trying to get into a uni. Our education minister hasn't passed his grade 10 exams. and we don't get accepted in society if we aren't a doctor or an engineer. we're messsed up as well and we dont even make the top 40 in education, we make thr 65th.

  • bestie's mirror

    The same thing happens in Tamilnadu (India) schools. Students are pressurized to achieve good score and their childhood is not that much enjoyable nowadays

  • nowgaku

    S Koreans need to recognize the truth or the essence of their deeply flawed society.
    They are victems in this S Korean society.
    Sadly no Koreans can change this society.
    Koreans refuse to accept the truth or only touch the surface of the problems
    In addition S Koreans try to flee to the comfort zone to seek something.
    That makes matters worse.

  • Ikmal Mustapa

    elementary 7.30 am – 1.45 pm
    middle school 7.30 am – 2.30 pm
    high school 7.30 am – 5.00pm

    school break combined around 3 month

    nowadays only 2 big exam (standard 6 and high school )

    our age elemntary: 7 yo – 12 yo
    middle school : 13 yo – 15 yo
    high school : 16 yo – 17 yo

    college usually starting 18 yo

    this what i get through in malaysia. what about others country?

  • chima chibi

    ●Nobel Prize (Medicine & Sciences) = Jpn. 22 / Ch. 9 / Ind. 6 / Kor. 0
    ●Fields Medal (Mathematics) = Jpn. 3 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 1 / Kor. 0
    ●Frank Nelson Cole Prize (Mathematics) = Jpn. 4 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 1 / Kor. 0
    ●Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize (Mathematics) = Jpn. 1 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Schockprisen (Mathematics) = Jpn. 1 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Darwin Medal (Biology) =Jpn. 1 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (Biology, Biochemistry) =Jpn. 1 / Chi. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (Astronomy)=Jpn. 2/ Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Gödel Prize (Theoretical Computer Science) = Jpn. 1 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 6 / Kor. 0
    ●Franklin Medal (Sciences & Technologies) = Jpn. 7 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 1 / Kor. 0
    ●Boltzmann Award (Physics) = Jpn. 2 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Edison Medal (Electrical Sciences & Engineering) = Jpn. 2 / Ch. 1 / Ind 0 / Kor. 0.
    ●IEEE Medal of Honor (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) = Jpn. 2 / Ch. 2 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●IEEE Milestones (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) = Jpn. 24 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●The International Balzan Prize (Humanities & Natural sciences)= Jpn. 3 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●The Crafoord Prize (Astronomy & Mathematics & Biology)= Jpn. 3 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●William Bowie Medal (Geophysics)= Jpn. 4 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Robert Koch Preis (Medicine) = Jpn. 4 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Laskar Award (Medicine) = Jpn. 7 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Gairdner International Award (Medicine) = Jpn. 9 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 1 / Kor. 0
    ●Wolf Prize (Arts & Sciences) = Jpn. 9 / Ch. 6 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Charles Stark Draper Prize (Engineering) = Jpn. 6 / Ch. 1 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●The Pritzker Architecture Prize = Jpn 7 / Ch. 2 / Ind. 0 / Kor. 0
    ●Royal Gold Medal (Architecture) = Jpn. 4 / Ch. 0 / Ind. 1 / Kor. 0
    Note: Most Chi. and Ind. awardees are from their diasporas, only a few from China and India

    Total : Jpn.=130 / Chi.=31 / Ind.=17 / Kor.=0

  • peaceperils & serendipity

    8am to 4pm
    8am to 9:30 pm
    Dinner at school
    8hrs long entrance exam
    I think m satisfied where i am…. Thank god.
    My sister would have died for sure.

  • Kristy Park

    I am a korean who was born in korea.( currently, i live in other country).Some ppl said korea's education systems are nice. but in my opinion, korean students endure manythings. especially many parentsand teachers gave them a hard pressure about study. That is one of reason why korean students have to think about suicide sometimes. I want to say it is like a hell for many students as a one of korean. I hope we have to get time to make great memory or habg out with their mates anyway:(

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