South Korean Education

South Korea is the most top-performing country in the world when it comes to education. But, what is their secret to success? Well, the answer is all of this blog post!

It’s a long day | The parents are on it too | Education is a big business | Religion and education are very good friends | But it comes at a cost | And it’s not just the students who are under pressure

It’s a long day

South Korean schools start at around 6 am and finishes at around 4.30pm. But, they don’t spend it all in the classroom. At 4.30pm, most leave school and go to hagwons (where you have a tutor and they teach you things about particular subjects, such as Maths.) They can spend anything from two to five hours in one of these hagwons. Some South Korean schools are open until midnight!

Children studying in hagwons.


The parents are on it as well

The parents will move to within a school’s catchment range which they think will be good for their child. They won’t see their children much, though, and will only see them on weekends.

Education is a big business

In South Korea, there are teachers who are celebrities. One teacher teaches Maths wearing fun costumes such as a chicken, Batman or anything else. Students pay £22 a month to watch his Maths videos and is so famous that 300,000 students could be logged into his website at any one time.

Religion and education are very good friends

In South Korea, mothers go to a temple to pray for good test results for their children. At the ceiling of the temple are lanterns with children’s pictures on it. These lanterns are lit until the child reaches university. They also burn old textbooks to get rid of any bad luck for the exams.

South Korean children smile for the camera.

But it comes at a cost

South Korea has the highest suicidal rate due to studying in the world. Unsurprisingly, you would have noticed that there are looming pressures from parents and teachers to do well in exams and to get to a decent university.

And it’s not just the students who are under pressure

The students aren’t the only ones under pressure. Teachers are observed by parents and are given feedback on their teaching. The teachers, unsurprisingly, do find it stressful but they find the feedback useful.
Retired teachers protesting over the government's plan to write South Korea's history into a single text book.

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