If you want to study in South Korea or just want to learn more about the distinctive features of Korean system of education, here are 10 shocking South Korea education facts that can blow your mind.
16-Hour School Day
In South Korea, people put a great emphasis on education. An average high school student spends about 16 hours a day studying. Usually, the school day of such student starts at 8 AM and ends at 10 PM. Nevertheless, nearly each high school student has a goal to enter a college. In the most cases, the competition is so high that many high school students have to attend hagwons to get ready for examinations.
Hagwons are private after school learning programs aimed to accelerate knowledge, reinforce higher education and to improve the knowledge of English. That is why such schools are very popular in South Korea. Students see Hagwons as the ability to drill their skills and the way to meet new friends.
When it comes to middle school students, their schedule is a little bit more lenient. A middle school student spends about 10 hours per day at school. Nevertheless, many middle school students also attend hagwons.
As South Korean students spend all day at school, usually they do not get home until midnight. That is why serving dinner in schools is a common thing in South Korea.
Teachers are as high as God
Though there is nothing extraordinary about pay scale of South Korean teachers, the society always holds teachers at the valuable and respected place. As education in South Korea plays a key role in the future of the students and the country, Korean teachers are usually regarded as pillars of the schooling system. Senior teachers can enjoy increased pay and the overall work hours. Furthermore, they have holidays and vacation bonuses that are better than the same provided by a regular office job. Retirement age begins after a teacher turns 65 years old.
Teaching as an Office Job
In South Korea, each classroom has a computer or computer counsel. That is why it is common among South Korean teacher to make PowerPoint presentations and to save files on USB memory sticks. Usually, such procedures are associated with an office job, not teaching job. Furthermore, if you work in South Korea as a teacher, you must look respectable. As South Korea is a fashionable and stylish country, nice suit with jacket or blazer is a good choice.
5-Year Rotation Cycle
If you are a teacher in South Korea, you will have to rotate school every 5 years even if you love your current workplace. There is a lottery system that is held each 5 years in order to replace the teachers, vice principal and principal with new staff. It means that each 5 years each school gets new staff.
Such system was created to provide teachers with equal opportunities to work both in good and bad schools. It is interesting to know that each teacher in South Korea is rated. A teacher receives points for exams s/he takes and workshops s/he attends. Furthermore, there is a system of school ranking in South Korea.
Role Playing at Schools
In some South Korean schools, you will be able to find a blue screen technology that is used to enact kids in different situations. You can find yourself in a market checkout scene, at a hospital room or traffic school room.
While in the most western countries corporal punishment of students is forbidden by law, the Korean educational system, as well as parents, does not see it as something wrong. Though with the course of time corporal punishment is not commonly used at schools, it still happens sometimes. For example, in some schools, you can find disciplinary sticks used to make the students reflect on their wrong behavior.
English Names of Korean Students
Most of Korean Students, especially those who attend hagwons, have English names such as Alice, Robert, Lola or Paul. Students get their English names from teachers for better immersion. It is a common thing when a teacher needs to create hundreds of papers with English names and put them to a fishbowl, so students can pick up one. In the most cases, names are quite ordinary. Nevertheless, if you meet a student who introduces himself as Spiderman, you can guess what happened.
Cleaning at Schools
Each morning, before the school bell rings, South Korean students take responsibility for the cleanliness of their school. For sure, there are employed janitors as well, but things like trash on the school grounds are usually done by students.
Have you ever heard about Asian tradition of taking shoes off when you enter a house? Koreans follow this tradition at home and even at school. As they consider feet to be dirty, you will have to provide yourself with a couple of pairs of slippers. The shoe etiquette means you have to remove your outdoor shoes and change them into a home or school slippers upon entering you home or school building.