A look into South Korea’s education system

South Korea’s education is one of the most highly ranked in the world.


The majority of South Korean students attend school for 8 hours and also attend “hagwons” or study rooms until 10 or 11 pm.

Education is highly respected in their Korean culture.

How is South Korea one of the most highly ranked education systems in the world? According to worldtop20 website, , in 2017 they were ranked number one for the best educated country in 2017 and their education system was in the top five in the World Top 20 Education Poll. Its also one of the top OECD countries in subjects such as reading, math, and sciences based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_South_Korea.

One of the reasons as to why their education is highly ranked is because of their culture regarding education. Education is highly prioritized in South Korea’s culture. Their success in education tremendously impacts their social status in society. The more education you receive the higher up you are in social class. South Koreans also believe that if you work hard enough and are meticulous, it will pay off. Many Koreans also assume that failure is not an option. This determination to be the best of best in terms of education creates an immense amount of pressure for their students to succeed starting at a young age. South Korea’s customs and culture in education heavily affects their world ranking.

With the high performance that South Korea’s education system has, it also comes with high pressure towards their students. With all of their time spent mostly on studying, Korean students are barely getting enough sleep because of it.

They also take an advantage of their technology in the classroom. South Korea’s schools have always been on top with the latest tech adaptions. Their schools have been incorporating electronic devices that help both the students and teachers in the teach and learning process. The teachers are able to accommodate students with different learning styles through technology.

Their education’s structure is similar to other countries like the US, with six years of primary school, three years of middle school and then three years of high school. But the thing that separates South Korea from other countries is the number of hours that students are in school. In countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, student usually spend around seven to eight hours a day in school. In contrast, students in South Korea spend about 12-16 hours a day in school, and the average time a Korean high school student spends in school is 16 hours. They accumulate these hours by attending cram schools after taking their regular classes. This is very common in South Korea. Students can be in classes until 10 at night. The goal of these cram schools is to prepare students to pass certain exams such as the CSAT exam.

In 2016, crowds of students’ families cheer them on for the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The CSAT exam, also called the College Scholastic Ability test, is a national graduation exam taken by high school students. It’s the most important exam for Korean students because it determines what university they can apply for and attend. And students only have the opportunity to take it once a year. Because of the exam’s importance, the stock market opens late and transportation services improve to prevent any traffic jams to occur to students who are trying to get to the testing sites.  Planes that are traveling throughout South Korea during testing time, are grounded or change routes in order to not disturb the students taking the exam. Around 600,000 Korean students take the CSAT every November according to this bbc website.

Will South Korea keep up their high educational ranking or will it drop because of the immense amount of pressure put on their students?