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홈 Introduction Education System Overview

Overview

The Development of Education

A. Pre-Modern Education (Until the 19th Century)

The informal education which can be traced back to the prehistoric times ended with the establishment of "Taehak" in the year 372 during the Goguyreo era which is known as the earliest form of a formal education. Curriculum consisted of ethics education focused on cultivating the morals of the students and educating the general public based on Confucianism and Buddhism. Modern schools first introduced in the 19th century comprised national and private education institutes established by Christian missionaries and members of the independence movement. From this period onward, many private schools founded by Western missionaries began to appear nationwide.
At that time, national leaders who resisted the Japanese intrusion pressed for the "movement to save the nation through education." Their primary focus was on educating future leaders who would achieve national independence. After liberation from 35 years of Japanese colonial rule in 1945, a foundation for democratic education was established. Education in Korea has undergone numerous transformations and development through changing objectives according to the needs of the times, The government set the direction for democratic education, expanding basic education to enhance democracy, quantitative growth in education, education reform, and qualitative growth of education.

B. Expansion of Democratic Education (1945~1950s)

  • In order to lay the foundation for democratic education after liberation in 1945, education policies were directed toward the following objectives within the framework of the Constitution. The Education Law was enacted and promulgated followed by the provision for educational autonomy and the implementation of compulsory education.
    • The compilation and distribution of primary school textbooks
    • Reform of the school ladder system to a single track system following a 6-3-3-4 pattern
    • Adult education for literacy and supplementary in-service training for teachers
    • Incremental expansion of educational opportunities for secondary and higher education and the creation of teacher colleges.
  • Even during the Korean war, education continued to play a pivotal role in overcoming the nation"s crisis and playing a leading role in the nation"s reconstruction after the war. The revival of education emphasized the role of Korean education in fulfilling the missions of overcoming the national crisis and leading the reconstruction efforts.
    • Initiation of the curriculum revision project
    • Standard national admission test for applicants to junior high schools
    • of national public universities and the promulgation of the "Wartime Emergency Education Act".

C. Quantitative Expansion in the 1960s and 1970s

  • With the rapid economic growth, significant changes took place in many spheres of life. In the management of such changes, efforts were made to achieve rapid quantitative growth in the education sector. The most outstanding feature of educational development in Korea during the 1960s was its quantitative expansion in student population, education facilities, and the number of teachers. Such a rapid growth in student population inevitably resulted in over-crowded classrooms, oversized schools, a shortage of fully qualified teachers and educational facilities, as well as intense competition in the college entrance system. Such shortfalls necessitated the reform of the entrance examination system to normalize education at all school levels.
    • Teacher/Education Reform
    • Establish the Graduate School of Education to carry out the functions of in-service training and education for teachers
    • Abolish the middle school entrance examination
    • Improve the local university system and establish junior colleges
    • Establish broadcast and correspondence colleges and high schools
    • Institutionalize a standard examination as a preliminary screening mechanism for the college entrance examination in an effort to normalize high school education
    • Upgrade general high schools to two-year colleges of education to train primary school teachers. Institutions training secondary school teachers upgraded to four-year teacher colleges.

Expansion of Primary School Education (1945-2002)

Primary School
Year 1945 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2001 2002
Classification
Schools 2,834 4,496 5,961 6,487 6,335 5,267 5,322 5,384
Teachers 19,729 61,605 101,095 119,064 136,800 140,000 142,715 147,497
Students 1,366,685 3,622,685 5,749,301 5,658,002 4,868,520 4,019,991 4,089,429 4,138,366
Primary School
Year 1945 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2001 2002
Classification
Schools 166 1,053 1,608 2,121 2,470 2,731 2,770 2,809
Teachers 1,186 13,053 31,207 54,858 89,719 92,589 93,385 95,283
Students 80,828 528,593 1,318,808 2,471,997 2,275.751 1,860,539 1.831,152 1,841,030

Expansion of High School Education (1945-2002)

High School
Year 1945 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2001 2002
Classification
Schools 307 640 889 1,353 1,683 1,957 1,969 1,995
Teachers 1,720 9,627 19,854 50,948 92,683 104,351 104,314 114,304
Students 40,271 273,434 590,382 1,696,792 2,283,806 2,071,468 1,911,173 1,795,509

Expansion of University (Higher) Education (1945-2002)

University (Higher)
Year 1945 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2001 2002
Classification
Schools 19 85 232 357 556 1,184 1,261 1,303
Teachers 1,490 3,808 10,435 20,900 41,920 79,136 83,116 86,441
Students 7,819 101,041 201,436 601,494 1,490,809 3,363,549 3,500,560 3,577,447

D. Qualitative Development in the 1980s

  • The innovative efforts of the previous decade to modernize the educational system were carried over into the 1980s, particularly in those aspects related to the normalization and improvement of educational quality. The government of the Fifth Republic promoted an educational policy which stressed the success of education.
    The 1980"s was a period of qualitative development and normalization of the education system. Under its education innovation policies, the Fifth Republic was the first to stipulate the need for lifelong education in the constitution, an emphasis of education to raise wholesome citizens of society and education innovation to pursue science and lifelong education. The following measures were introduced to achieve such goals:
    • Build a broadcasting system dedicated exclusively to education programs
    • Implement college graduation quota system
    • Create the educational tax system to finance educational reforms
    • The main entrance examination was abolished. High school achievements were given heavier weight in determining qualification
    • Establish the Social Education Act and Early Education Promotion Act.
  • The Commission for Educational Reform was inaugurated as the consultative body for the President in March 1985. Ten education innovation measures listed below were proposed to be implemented by December 1985 for the purpose of "Cultivating Koreans to Lead the 21st Century."
    • Reform the education system
    • Improve the college entrance system
    • Upgrade school facilities
    • Secure high quality teachers
    • Promote science education
    • Improve the curriculum and methodology
    • Improve college education
    • Promote autonomy in education administration
    • Establish a lifelong education system
    • Expand education investments.
  • The above objectives have been pursued on a continuous basis. In May 1988, the Advisory Council for Educational Policy for the Minister of Education was established.

E. Human Education Preparing for Future Society - the 1990s and Beyond

  • Korea has a single-track 6-3-3-4 system which maintains a single line of school levels in order to ensure that every citizen can receive primary, secondary, and tertiary education without discrimination and according to the ability of each student. The existing education act was replaced by the Basic Education Act, the Primary and Secondary Education Act, and the Higher Education Act in 1998. The Primary and Secondary Education Act covers education issues dealing with pre-school, primary and secondary education while the Higher Education Act pertains to matters related to higher education. Article 9 of the Basic Education Act stipulates that "Schools shall be established to provide preschool, primary, secondary and higher education." According to Article 2 of the Primary and Secondary Education Act, "The following types of schools shall be established for preschool, primary and secondary education."
    • 1) Kindergartens
    • 2) Primary Schools, Civic Schools
    • 3) Middle Schools, Civic High Schools
    • 4) High Schools, Trade High Schools
    • 5) Special Schools
    • 6) Miscellaneous Schools.
  • Article two of the Higher Education Act also stipulates that "The following types of schools shall be established for higher education."
    • 1) Universities
    • 2) Industrial Universities
    • 3) Teachers Colleges
    • 4) Junior Colleges
    • 5) Air & Correspondence Universities
    • 6) Technical Colleges
    • 7) Miscellaneous Schools.

School System (2007)

School System (2007)
Classification Schools Students Teachers
Total National Public Private
Total 19,865 96 13,787 5,982 11,883,628 506,682
Kindergartens 8,294 3 4,445 3,846 541,550 33,504
Primary
Education
Subtotal 5,757 17 5,664 76 3,830,063 167,185
Primary Schools 5,756 17 5,664 75 3,829,998 167,182
Civic Schools 1 _ _ 1 65 3
Middle
School
Education
Subtotal 3,044 10 2,372 662 2,067,656 108,195
Middle Schools 3,032 9 2,371 652 2,063,159 107,986
Civic High Schools 4 _ 1 3 191 10
Miscellaneous Schools 8 1 _ 7 4,306 199
High
School
Education
Subtotal 2,218 17 1,246 955 1,862,501 120,585
High Schools 1,457 12 792 653 1,347,363 83,662
Vocational High Schools 702 5 408 289 494,011 36,549
Air & Correspondence
High Schools
39 _ 39 _ 14,285 _
Trade High Schools 12 _ _ 12 3,378 137
Miscellaneous Schools 8 _ 7 1 2,764 230
Special Schools 144 5 50 89 23,147 6,256
Junior
College
Education
Subtotal 152 3 8 141 800,423 11,713
Junior Colleges 148 3 8 137 795,519 11,685
Colleges attached to
industrial firms
1 _ _ 1 39 3
Distance Learning
Colleges
2 _ _ 2 4,769 21
Miscellaneous Schools 1 _ _ 1 53 4
University
Education
Subtotal 220 41 2 177 2,461,712 56,349
Universities 175 23 2 150 1,919,504 52,763
Teachers Colleges 11 11 _ _ 25,834 855
Industrial Universities 14 6 _ 8 169,862 2,190
Technical Colleges 1 _ _ 1 139 _
Broadcast & Correspondence Universities 1 1 _ _ 272,763 136
Distance Learning
Universities
15 _ _ 15 72,454 386
Colleges attached to
Industial firms
1 _ _ 1 95 1
Miscellaneous Schools 2 _ _ 2 1,061 18
Graduate
School
Education
Subtotal 36 _ _ 36 296,576 2,895
Graduate Schools at
Universities
<1,006> <168> <14> <824> 291,215 2,416
Graduate Schools 36 _ _ 36 5,361 479
  • The number of faculty for graduate schools includes only full time professors.
  • < > reflects status of graduate schools and is excluded from the total figure.
  • Does not include branch schools.

B. Curriculum and Textbooks

1) Curriculum

The Ministry of Education oversees the national school curriculum, as designated by Article 23 of the Primary and Secondary School Education Law, in order to insure equal educational opportunity for all and maintain the quality of education. The national curriculum and regional guidelines accord flexibility to individual schools in accordance with the particular characteristics and objectives of each school.
he national curriculum is revised on a periodic basis to reflect the newly rising demands for education, emerging needs of a changing society, and new frontiers of academic disciplines.
Curriculum standards serve as the basis for educational contents at each school and for textbook development. The government has undergone seven curriculum revisions to meet national and social needs as well as to keep up with the changes in consideration of various factors related to research development. "

Changes in the Curriculum of Primary, Secondary and Higher Education System

School System (2007)
Curri
culum
Announced Legislation Curriculum Features
1st Apr. 20, 1954
Aug. 1, 1955
MOE Ordinance #35
MOE Ordinance #44
MOE Ordinance #45
MOE Ordinance #46
Ordinance on class time assignment Primary School Curriculum Middle School Curriculum High School Curriculum Curriculum centered around school education.
2nd Feb. 15, 1963 MOE Ordinance #119
MOE Ordinance #120
MOE Ordinance #121
Primary School Curriculum Middle School Curriculum High School Curriculum - Experiential Curriculum
- Chinese Letters education(72)
- Military Exercise(69)
3rd Feb. 14, 1973
Aug. 31, 1973
Dec. 31, 1974
MOE Ordinance #310
MOE Ordinance #325
MOE Ordinance #350
Primary School Curriculum Middle School Curriculum High School Curriculum - Curriculum focused on academic enrichment
- Ethics(73)
- Korean History(73)
- Japanese Language(73)
4th Dec. 31, 1981 MOE Notice #442 Primary School Curriculum Middle School Curriculum High School Curriculum - Emphasis on national spirit
- Reduction/coordination of learning amount
- Intergrated curriculum management for 1st and 2nd year primary schools
5th Mar. 31, 1987
Jun. 31, 1987
Mar. 31, 1988
MOE Notice #87-7
MOE Notice #87-9
MOE Notice #88-7
Primary School Curriculum Middle School Curriculum High School Curriculum - Science High Schools and Arts High schools
- Integrated curriculum for primary schools
- New subjects: Information industry
- Emphasis on economics education
- Emphasis on regional characteristics
6th Jun. 31, 1992
Sep. 31, 1992
Oct. 30, 1992
Nov. 1, 1995
MOE Notice #1992-11
MOE Notice #1992-16
MOE Notice #1992-19
MOE Notice #1995-7
Middle School Curriculum Primary School Curriculum High School Curriculum Primary School Curriculum - Improvement of organization/management system
- Sharing roles among the government, region, and schools
- New subjects: Computer, environment, Russian language. career/vocation
- Specialized subjects on foreign language
- Primary school English
7th Dec. 31, 1997
Jun. 31, 1998
MOE Notice #1997-15
MOE Notice #1998-10
MOE Notice #1998-11
Primary/secondary curriculum Kindergarten curriculum Special education curriculum Vocational high school curriculum - Curriculum centered around the students
- Curriculum on basic national curriculum
- Selection-based high school curriculum
- Level-based curriculum
- Establishment and expansion of independent activities
- Objective(Competence)-based Curriculum
- Expansion of regional and school independence
  • The Seventh Curriculum introduced on December 30, 1997 was initially applied to primary first and second grade students in the 2000 school year and has gradually been expanded to 12th grade students in 2004. The application of curricula in primary schools started with the 1st and 2nd grades in 2000, followed by the 3rd and 4th grades in 2001 and the 5th and 6th grades in 2002.
    To prepare students for the 21st century, the era of globalization and knowledge-based society, the Seventh Curriculum attempts to break away from the spoon-fed and short-sighted approach to education of the past towards a new approach in the classroom to produce human resources capable of facing new challenges. Study loads for each subject has been reduced to an appropriate level, while curricula that accommodate different needs of individual students were also introduced. Independent learning activities to enhance self-directed learning required in the knowledge-based society have either been introduced or expanded.
    Thus, the Seventh Curriculum is a student-oriented curriculum emphasizing individual talent, aptitude, and creativity, unlike the curriculum of the past. The Seventh Curriculum defines the desired image of an educated person as follows:
    • ① A person who seeks individuality as the basis for the growth of the whole personality
    • ② A person who exhibits a capacity for fundamental creativity
    • ③ A person who pioneers a career path within the wide spectrum of culture
    • ④ A person who creates new value on the basis of understanding the national culture
    • ⑤ A person who contributes to the development of the community on the basis of democratic civil consciousness.
  • The Seventh Curriculum consists of the Basic Common Curriculum and the Selected Curriculum at the high school level.The Seventh Curriculum covers ten years from the first year of primary school through the first year of high school. The general public is able to receive the necessary basic education required for everyday life.
    During the 11th and 12th grades in high school, students are given the opportunity to chose their curriculum and courses they wish to take so that they may benefit from education that facilitates their future path.

2) Textbook

Textbooks and teachers" manuals are developed within the framework of the national curriculum. The textbooks compiled within the framework of the curricula are classified into three types. Type one are those which copyrights are held by the Ministry of Education. The textbooks which are authorized by the Minister of Education and published by private publishers comprise type two. Type three is recognized by the Minister of Education as relevant and useful.
For kindergarten, a collection of instructional materials for teachers has been developed as Type One textbooks. The primary school curriculum has changed from the one textbook per subject rule of the past to the present practice of permitting multiple textbooks per subject, so that a variety of Type One textbooks are being developed for primary school education. With the introduction of more comprehensive English education in 1997, English textbooks are also being published.
School subjects at the high school level are largely divided into regular subjects designed for academic high schools and specialized subjects for vocational and other specialized high schools. High school textbooks are largely divided into basic course textbooks and textbooks for the advanced level. Most regular course textbooks, with the exception of the Korean language, ethics, and Korean history must be authorized by the Ministry of Education. Most textbooks for the advanced level are developed by research organizations and universities commissioned by the Ministry of Education . Plans to convert government authorized textbooks into those approved by the Ministry of Education are currently under consideration.