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Education System

A great place to live: A wonderful natural environment and multicultural society

Republic of Korea (South)

Attractive and fascinating place: Korean Wave, history and culture.

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  • Located in East Asia

  • 11th largest economy

  • World’s most innovative country

  • Home of Korean Wave

  • A place to live blending strong traditions and the latest technologies

  • Population: 51.47 million

  • High-quality healthcare

  • Extremely safe country

Education System

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School Education

Schools education consists of three levels of school, elementary school, middle school and high school. Attending elementary school and middle school is compulsory in Korea.

  • Elementary School(Primary School)

Elementary schools consist of grade one to six (7 to 12 years of age). Usually, the class teacher covers most of the subjects. However, there are some specialized teachers in professions such as physical education and foreign languages, including English.

  • Middle School(Junior Secondary School)

Middle Schools consist of three grades. Most students enter at age 12 or 13 and graduate at age 15 or 16. Students spend most of the day in the same homeroom classroom with the same classmates; however, students have different teachers for each subject.

  • High School(Senior Secondary School)

High schools teach students for 3 years, from first grade (age 15-17) to third grade (age 17-19), and students commonly graduate at age 18 or 19. High schools can be divided into specialty tracks that accord with a student's interest and career path or a normal - state high school. For special high schools, there are science, foreign language, and international and art specialty high schools to which students can attend by passing entrance examinations which are generally highly competitive. For students who do not wish a tertiary education, vocational schools specializing in fields such as technology, agriculture or finance are available, such that students are employable right after graduation.

Tertiary education

There are colleges and universities whose courses of study extend from 4 to 6 years. In addition, there are vocational colleges, industrial universities, open universities and universities of technology.
In 2018, there are 339 universities, junior colleges in Korea. Tertiary institutions provide day and evening classes, classes during vacation and remote education classes.

  • University

Korea has 43 national and almost 180 private universities, and undergraduate programs normally last four years (six years for medicine and dentistry). As many Korean universities are keen on internationalization, approximately 30% of courses are taught in English, some universities have a Department of International Studies, which teaches all the courses in English. Compared with the US, Canada, and the UK, Korea has lower tuition and living costs. International students do not have to pay higher fees and there are many scholarship programs to assist international students financially.

The Korean government has recently announced substantial support and deregulation for foreign students in areas such as scholarships, dormitory provision, part-time jobs, and employment after graduation. The academic year starts in March, but many universities admit new students twice a year, in March and September. The academic year is divided into two semesters, with a summer break from July to August, and winter break from December to February. Generally, for applications by international students, the deadline for spring semester (March entry) is usually from September to November, and for the autumn semester (September entry) from May to June.

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  • Junior College

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In South Korea, junior colleges typically provide 2-year courses of study but may also provide a 3-year course of study. Students who complete the course of study at a junior college are entitled to an associate degree. Junior colleges also provide ‘Advanced major courses’ in some study areas for their students that will lead to a bachelor’s degree. Emphasis is on practical education, including hands-on training, in close cooperation with industry through internships. Students concentrate on their specialties in preparation for the National Certification Examination.

They can major in humanities and social studies, natural sciences, engineering, arts and physical education, nursing, clinical pathology, physical therapy, radiology, dental and other medical technology, mechanics courses, or aquaculture. Junior vocational colleges emphasise practical education, but it is not necessarily an endpoint. Students who so wish could continue their education at the university level. For employed students, junior colleges provide channels for continued education.