Home > Korėja > Comparison of students’ occupation in secondary and higher educational institutions in South Korea

Comparison of students’ occupation in secondary and higher educational institutions in South Korea

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I. Introduction

I.1. Background of study

The author of this paper and this research entitled “Comparison of students’ occupation in secondary and higher educational institutions in South Korea” is a Lithuanian master degree student majoring in education management in Vilnius University. This research is going to be a part of her thesis on comparison of Korea’s and Lithuania’s educational systems, how educational models changed in time undergoing economical, political, religious, cultural and social changes.

I.2. Problem statement

Formal education in Korea began during the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-A.D.668) under the influence of the Chinese educational system and later was influenced by Confucian and Buddhist philosophies.

Korea’s educational system opened for the West only in late 19th century.

This research will focus on finding roots of students’ occupation difference in high schools and universities assuming that the secondary education hard learning style comes from Eastern education tradition and higher learning institutions’ way of teaching comes from Western style higher education.

I.3. Research purpose

The purpose of this research is to compare students’ occupation in high school and university in South Korea, and specifically in Kyunghee university in Seoul, and find out if the difference is significant, what are the reasons of the difference in students’ opinion and to find proof to the hypothesis of this research. This research also aims to compare the results with foreign countries’ students and evaluate the results from historical point of view.

I.4. Research objectives

The objectives of this research are to find out:

  • how much time Korean and foreign students spent in elementary, middle and high school in their country, both for class and after-class activities,how much time Korean and foreign students spend in their university and for foreign students – in Kyunghee university,

  • how much time Korean and foreign students spend in their university and for foreign students – in Kyunghee university,

  • weather foreign students see significant difference between curriculum requirements in their home universities and Kyunghee university,

  • weather Korean students see much difference in secondary school and university.

I.5. Importance of the research

The results of the research may serve as up-to-date facts about Korean secondary and higher education. The current research will be useful for the author’s future thesis which attempts to compare South Korea’s and Lithuania’s educational models.

II. Literature review

The author has reviewed some articles on Korean education history written in English language. Here are provided extracts from these articles which mainly explain Korea’s secondary education issues.

On noting the schedule of many high school students, it is not abnormal for them to arrive home from school at midnight, after intensive “self-study” sessions supported by the school. The curriculum is often noted as rigorous, with as many as 11 or so subjects and some students choose to attend private academies called 학원 (學院, pronounced hagwons) to boost their academic performance.“


Because of the importance of the university entrance examination in determining one’s career prospects, students are under intense pressure to study long hours. The high school years, especially, are a time when students have little chance to do much except study.”


The Korean saying “Sleep five hours and fail, sleep four hours and pass” is taken seriously; for three years students typically begin school at 6 a.m. and finish at midnight; some students finish at 10 p.m. and go to hagwons until midnight or 1 a.m.”


In 2003 it was reported that roughly 75% of elementary schools and 80% of middle and high schools employ corporal punishment..a 1999 poll found that almost 75% of parents support it.”


In 2005 students gathered in Seoul for a candlelight vigil in memory of friends who had committed suicide and to protest for shorter school hours and an end to the haircut policy. A significant number of them wore masks and asked reporters not to take photographs out of fear of being punished by their teachers; some schools warned their students not to attend.”

Most of the articles stress not only the rigorousness of Korean high schools, but also the success of Korean students in all kinds of international contests. None, however, speak about any outstanding methods of Korea’s universities or success of their students.

As noted by Kyunghee university professor David A. Mason, all students need their play time. South Korea and the United States take different approaches considering that circumstance. American kids have a relaxed time in high schools and hard studies in universities. 37 out of 50 world’s best universities appear to be in the United States. Even though these universities have a large amount of Asian, and especially Korean students, South Korean universities seem to be more similar to US high schools, in terms of relaxation and enjoying the young days. If we had to put Lithuanian education somewhere in between the US and South Korea, it would probably be closer to Korea, though it often depends on the school and on the university.

This is the list of revised literature:

III. Reseach methodology

  • Below is a model of the research.


  • Research period:
    May 7
    th – 21st, 2008

  • Research target:
    Korean (appr. 30) and foreign (appr. 20) Kyunghee university students

  • Research location:
    Kyunghee university campus

  • Research method:

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  1. August 31, 2014 at 4:36 am

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