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Korean Education System

2018-11-15 14:50:02


n Introduction

The 1948 Education Act saw the establishment of an education system that strongly resembled the Chinese system. Financial assistance from countries such as the United States strongly boosted the industrialization of the Republic of Korea, which has had consequences for the structure of the national education system.

The Ministry of Education has been responsible for all types of education in South Korea since 1948. The ministry has undergone several change of name, but its current name is again, the Ministry of Education (MOE)(교육부).

Among other things, the MOE is charged with the formulation and implementation of policy in the field of academic activities, science and education. The ministry is responsible for policy for primary, secondary and higher education institutions, the creation and publication of new textbooks and

curricula, provision of administrative and financial support to the entire school system, and supervision of teacher-training colleges and human resource policy. The education system is based on the traditional philosophy of hongik ingan, or the universal welfare of mankind.

In the 1950s, the focus was on rebuilding the education system with a huge emphasis on democratic education. National universities and teacher-training institutions were founded, and textbooks created for primary school. The 1960s and 1970s saw a focus on quantitative expansion of the student population, educational facilities and the number of teachers. Increasing student numbers

resulted in heavy competition for admission to higher education. Various measures were then taken to regulate the system more effectively. The 1980s were characterized by qualitative changes, such as the introduction of a life long-learning system, and renewal of educational facilities. In the 1990s, local autonomy became an important item on the educational policy agenda.

Approximately 80 percent of all higher education institutions are private, all of which fall under the responsibility of the MOE. Private institutions for secondary education also exist.

Compulsory education lasts 9 years, and encompasses primary school and junior secondary school, for pupils aged 6 until 15.


n Common diplomas of Korea


l Bachelor’s degree conferred by NIAD-UE

a) Duration of schooling: 3 years.

b) Type of education: secondary vocational education.

c) Purpose of diploma: access to higher education, upon successful completion of entrance examinations.

l High School Certificate (general high school)

a) Duration of schooling: 3 years.

b) Type of education: upper general secondary education.

c) Purpose of diploma: access to higher education, upon successful completion entrance examinations.

l High School Certificate (science high school)

a) Duration of schooling: 3 years, but can also be completed in 2 years.

b) Type of education: general secondary education.

c) Purpose of diploma: access to higher education (to prestigious institutions, without entrance examinations).

l Associate degree (2 years)

a) Duration of schooling: 2 years.

b) Type of education: higher professional education.

c) Purpose of diploma: access to the third year of university bachelors.

l Bachelor (4 years)

a) Duration of schooling: 4 years.

b) Type of education: professional or research oriented.

c) Purpose of diploma: access to university masters, upon successful completion of entrance examinations.

l Master (2 years)

a) Duration of schooling: 2 years.

b) Type of education: professional or research oriented.

c) Purpose of diploma: access to doctorate programmes.