Enhance publicness in education from kindergarten to college


Expand the national responsibility for a budget for the Nuri Curriculum and offer practical opportunities for higher education regardless of economic conditions

  • (Improving the national responsibility for early childhood education) Provide full government subsidy for the Nuri Curriculum at daycare centers in 2018; increase enrollment at national and public kindergartens (25% in 2017 → 40% in 2022)
  • (Matching the service level of kindergartens and daycare centers) Equalize the quality of teachers, programs, and facilities of daycare centers
    • Promote teacher quality and wellbeing (2018); develop specialized training courses; reform qualification systems (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health & Welfare)

      The method and schedule to be discussed at the National Education Council.

  • (Establishing full day care) Gradually increase and improve full day care classes in all grades of elementary school
    • Develop full day care system models inside and outside of school in cooperation among related government departments (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Ministry of Gender Equality & Family, and so on) and between local governments and the municipal offices of education (since 2017)
  • (Realizing tuition-free high schools) Offer support not only for tuition but also for entrance fees, school operating expenses, and textbook costs (began in 2020 and will be completed in 2022) Revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to enable free high school education in 2019 Revision of the Local Education Financial Grant Act to adjust the local education financial grant rate in 2019
  • (Reducing college tuition and housing burdens) Lessen the burden of tuition and student loan debt; attempt to abolish entrance fees (since 2018)
    • Build dormitories accommodating 50,000 residents through collaboration with related agencies by 2022 (30,000 in 2021)
Expected effects

Ensure equal educational opportunities based on national efforts, like the Nuri Curriculum and free high school education

Execute innovation in public education through a classroom revolution

  • Support student growth and achievement with customizable career education, not competition-oriented one
  • Promote innovation in public education that begins in the classroom through innovative schools, no exam semesters, and the simplification of the college application process
  • (Restructuring the student-centered curriculum) Enact legislation guaranteeing appropriate study sessions and breaks for kindergarten and elementary pupils; reduce compulsory subjects and increase elective subjects in elementary, middle, and high schools; ramp up music, art, and physical education
  • (Introducing career-tailored high schools) Expand the high school credit system in 2018; promote the gradual reorganization of the high school system by collecting opinions from the National Education Council, which was founded in 2017

    Conversion of foreign language high schools, international high schools, and autonomous private high schools into regular high schools; admissions simultaneously with regular high schools, etc.

  • (Guaranteeing basic education) Ensure a sound basic education for every student through the enactment of the Basic Education Guarantee Act in 2020; expand support for the one-class, two-teacher system in 2018
  • (Expanding innovative schools, etc.) Switch the national assessment of educational progress from 100% inspection to sampling in 2017; revamp assessment methods for elementary and middle school students in 2018; share the achievement of innovative schools with regular schools; reinforce no exam semesters and years
  • (Developing teacher professionalism) Promote open recruitment for principals in 2018; improve the performance appraisal process; create a plan regarding upgrade training courses in special colleges of education in 2018
  • (Improving the college admissions process and fairness) Streamline the college admissions process (since 2018); reorganize the mid- to long-term college admissions system*
    • End financial aid to morally-compromised; legislate college admissions policy notice three and half years in advance in 2017
Expected effects

Move away from competition and entrance exam-oriented education to education highlighting student core competencies

Restore the Ladder of Hope for Education policy

  • Strengthen educational support for socially vulnerable groups
  • Remove discrimination on the basis of educational background and expand career opportunities for those with only a high school diploma
  • (Supporting admissions for underprivileged social groups) Adopt a mandatory selection of children from underprivileged families in 2021; offer incentives for colleges that have a high selection ratio
    • Expand the opportunity to get into pharmacy and medical schools in regional colleges for applicants from low-income families and local high school graduates*; conduct required blind interviews at law schools; select underprivileged students**; award need-based financial aid

      * Amendment to the Regional College and Regional Talent Development Act; mandatory selection of local talent (30%)

      ** Underprivileged class selection ratio: (current) over 5% → (future) incentives to colleges whose selection ratio is over 7%
  • (Providing educational resources for underprivileged social groups) Increase special education teachers, schools, and classes; assign inclusion teachers; implement career education for students with disabilities

    Support for regional career centers for college students with disabilities (6 regions, since 2018)

    • Establish cross-ministerial measures for bicultural and North Korean defector students in 2018
    • Give out-of-school youth the opportunity to improve educational attainment; manage at-risk students (since 2017)
  • (Expanding high school diploma jobs) Recruit local talent as 9th grade civil servants; encourage companies and public institutions to hire high school graduates (since 2017)
    • Promote government-funded study abroad and global internships for technical talent graduating from high school; find employment in vocational high schools (since 2017)
  • (Rejecting academic elitist norms) Introduce blind college admissions interviews; obligate blind recruitment in public institutions and local public enterprises; induce companies to adopt blind recruitment
Expected effects

Advance equity through personalized learning support for disadvantaged children and bridge the social gap

Improve the quality of higher education and unlock innovation in lifelong learning and vocational education

  • Rearticulate the publicness and competitiveness of higher education by fostering Korea NU 10 and regional colleges
  • Solidify the government’s role in vocational education and motivate adult learners
  • (Strengthening the publicness of higher education) Nurture Korea NU 10 and regional colleges together with local governments (since 2018)
    • Cultivate and expand publicized private colleges (since 2019)
  • (Enhancing college autonomy) Revise college financial support programs (general and special purposes); double basic research spending; expand support for challenging research
    • Promote the practical use of future growth engines, including the commercialization of research results and technical integration and convergence
  • (Strengthening the national responsibility for vocational education) Prepare a master plan for vocational education in 2018; expand financial support for vocational high schools; operate the vocational high school credit system (since 2018)
  • (Improving the quality of junior colleges) Develop a support plan for junior colleges in 2017; turn junior colleges into a regional base for career education by operating publicized junior colleges in 2019
  • (Facilitating adult lifelong learning) Develop and operate the Korean Nanodegree Models with the quaternary sector having priority; address illiteracy; activate K-MOOC
  • (Forging industry-academic alliance) Construct an industry-academic cluster in which colleges, public institutions, and local governments are connected; increase industry-academia collaboration by relocating companies and research centers on the campus
Expected effects

Efficiently utilize human resources and promote potential growth engines by enhancing the competitiveness of higher, vocational, and lifelong education

Create the learning environment of the future and a safe school

  • Foster talent with creativity and integration amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Diversify teaching-learning activities and build a safe and pleasant classroom environment, such as reducing the number of students per class
  • (Boosting knowledge, information, and convergence education) Seek substantiality in software education entangled with digital humanities literacy while producing 10,000 instructors in 2021; provide artificial intelligence-based learning analytics in 2020; establish and operate the digital educational content market (since 2018)
    • Increase STEAM schools
  • (Building a positive and productive learning environment at the level of advanced economies) Decrease the number of students per teacher at the OECD average; expand education recruitment; convert non-regular school workers into regular ones and improve benefits and compensation
  • (Renovating school facilities) Establish comprehensive countermeasures for school facility improvement in 2018; adopt safety certification for educational facilities
    • Change poor classroom environments—asbestos abatement, earthquake-resistant structures, and the replacement of chalkboards, and time-worn coolers and heaters; install air purifiers (2018)
  • (Improving a surrounding neighborhood of school) Develop systems for early detection of child abuse in 2018; determine regulatory actions against gambling houses near the educational environment protection zone in 2018
    • Make safety education at kindergarten mandatory; provide survival swimming lessons in elementary school (3rd grade to 5th grade in elementary school in 2017 → all students in 2020)
  • (Creating e-learning frameworks) Develop remote learning infrastructures, including academic content and curricula in response to change in the future
Expected effects

Build a favorable and safe teaching and learning environment at the OECD average in 2022

Restore democracy and autonomy in education


Consolidate accountability and democracy in education, such as repealing the government's monopolization of history textbooks and eliminating private school corruption; change educational governance, such as reshuffling the Ministry of Education

  • (Prohibiting against government control over history textbooks) Abolish the nationalization of history on May 31, 2017; prepare a plan for textbooks of private publishers approved by the government
    • Adopt free publication in phases (since 2019) by conducting research and collecting opinions (2018)
  • (Rebuilding educational democracy) Remove a connection between president selection at national colleges and financial support projects (since 2018); amend the Private School Act to eradicate corruption in private schools
  • (Establishing the National Board of Education) Found the National Education Council, an advisory body under the direct control of the President, in 2017; promote the establishment of the National Board of Education for mid- to long-term policies in 2021
  • (Reorganizing the function of the Ministry of Education) Reshape the Ministry of Education, focusing on higher, lifelong, and vocational education, in 2017; form a joint consultative committee (municipal offices of education, etc.) for the transfer of responsibility pertaining to elementary and secondary education
  • (Reinforcing school autonomy) Make a plan to establish the school steering committee and activate student and parent engagement in 2017; strengthen support for parent associations at kindergarten and elementary, middle, and high schools
  • (Forging communication and cooperation) Increase opportunities for on-site communication, such as through outreach briefing sessions; widen exchanges with educational institutes; expand the education policy history-management system in 2017
Expected effects
  • Restore trust and respect in education and leverage school autonomy by resolving challenges, including private school corruption and the nationalization of history textbooks
  • Establish mid- to long-term policies and relevant systems