South Korean Education System

4 minute read
South Korean Education System

Popularly known as the land of morning calm, South Korea is a perfect mix of all that a study abroad student requires. From ancient cultural history to advanced tech hubs, the country is a perfect destination for international students. Preferred mainly because of the affordable cost of living and studying, it has become a top choice for those looking for affordable options for overseas education. Before signing up for a course in any country, you must be well aware of the education system followed there. As South Korea is a leading study abroad destination of Asia, it is quintessential to understand their education system. Considering the importance of country among students, we are here, with all the details pertaining to the South Korean education system. The universities of the country offer, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs to students with multiple specialisations like Science &  Technology, Management, Humanities, Medicine, etc.

Classification of South Korean Education System

The higher education system of South Korea can be classified into 3 categories of institutes: 

1. Junior Colleges 

These colleges are popularly known as post-secondary educational centres providing 2 to 3-year courses to high school pass-outs. Popular courses taught in junior colleges are related to Humanities and Social Studies, Engineering, Arts and Physical Education, Nursing, Natural Science, Physical Therapy, Radiology, Dental and Medical Technology. The primary focus of these programs is on vocational training and skill development. Candidates who complete these training courses either get placed in private organisations or have the chance to further go for higher education to make a career in the education sector. 

2. Colleges or Universities 

Regular colleges or universities under the South Korean education system are institutes that majorly provides undergraduate general and professional degree programs to international students. Courses offered by these universities are usually last for a duration of 4 years. Government of South Korea has permitted colleges to set a credit system or marking schemes to evaluate the performance of enrolled students. Institutes also have the authority to set eligibility criteria and application process for the incoming students as per their choice. 

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To support the South Korean education system, the government keeps providing adequate funds to universities and colleges in order to maintain the quality of education. Public universities of South Korea benefits the most from such reforms, whereas, private ones depend only on tuition fee of candidates and other sources for raising funds. 

Also Read: Difference Between Public and Private Universities

3. Graduate Schools

Another interesting part of the South Korean education system is its graduate schools that provide master-level courses to students for a 2-year duration. The students have to complete 24-semester credits over 4 semesters in order to complete the degree course. Doctoral degrees are also provided by graduate schools, where students have to finish the 60 credit coursework in 3-year of duration in order to complete the program. In addition, students also have to work on the dissertation and submit it to respective authorities, but before that, they need to clear 2 foreign language tests and a comprehensive exam.  

Education Levels in South Korea

There are various levels of education in South Korea starting from elementary to university. Adding to it, South Korea also accommodates international students through international schools. Here are the Education Levels in South Korea:

Elementary School

Attending school at the elementary school level is free of charge in South Korea as public education, is free there, beginning right at the age of 6. Before entering primary school, nearly every child attends some form of preschool and kindergarten. Students in South Korea are taught various subjects such as Korean, mathematics, ethics, social studies, English, science, arts, music, and physical education.

Middle School

Middle Schools in South Korea have the curriculum consisting of 12 subjects, some of which are basic and mandatory for all, and many of which include electives and extracurricular activities. Much of the subjects at Middle School Level are the continuation of what the children were taught in elementary school such as the Korean language, mathematics, ethics, social studies, English, science, arts, music, and physical education.

High Schools

High Schools are divided into three categories such as:

  • By Gender
  • Academic and vocational high schools in Korea
  • Elite high schools in Korea

There are nine primary subjects taught in high schools in Korea. These subjects include Korean language, social studies (including Korean history), mathematics, science, physical education, fine arts, practical arts, and moral education.

Highlights of South Korean Education System

Apart from knowing the structure of the South Korean education system, one must also know a few important facts about the country before starting their educational venture. Listed below are some of the essential points that are to be remembered: 

  • Most of the courses in South Korea are taught in English. 
  • The academic session starts in the month of March, thus students should apply to the universities accordingly. However, some colleges also have an opening in the month of September.
  • English proficiency test like IELTS and TOEFL are to be taken by candidates.

Top Universities in South Korea

It is always a good choice to pursue a course from reputed universities to ensure that you receive correct exposure and skills. Given below are some of the renowned universities in South Korea for higher education:

Also Read: Best Countries to Study Abroad for Indian Students

We hope that this blog was successful in decoding the South Korean education system for you. To study at one of the South Korean universities, you can get in touch with our counsellors at Leverage Edu to seek expert guidance in admission related matters. Also, our unique AI tool will help you select a well-suited course and university as per your requirement. 

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