Korean Education System
t was in the 1880s, with the opening of Korea to the out side world, that the first modern schools were established, many of them by Western Christian missionaries. However, the development of a modern education system was soon interrupted by Japan's colonial rule (1910-45) and the Korean War (1590-53). The educational system and opprtunities have expaned with remarkable speed since then.
Today Korea boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and its well-educated people are regarded as the primary resource for the impressive national development achieved in recent years.
Koreans Generally attach reat importance to education This was true for many centuries when the state exampination was the main venue for recruiting goverment officals. Success in the exampination was the most honorable and surest road to success. In modern Korea, education is still considered to be of prime importance because it produces the manpower needed for economic and technological adnvacement.
South Korean Education
Korean society historically has prized learning and the well educated, yet education was not widely available to all until after the Korean War. As late as 1945, less than 20 percent of Koreans had received formal education of any kind. The modern education system is based on a 1968 charter that identifies education as an important aspect of citizenship and defines the government’s role in providing all Korean children with access to education. South Korea has compulsory education through the ninth grade, with 95 percent of school-age children attending high school. Approximately 25 percent of all high-school students attend one of 350 public and private postsecondary institutions, the most prestigious of which are Seoul National, Yonsei, Koryo, and Ewha universities. Many observers regard students as the “national conscience” of South Korea, especially given their important role in democratic reform movements since 1960. The literacy rate is 98 percent.
North Korean Education
Education in North Korea is free, compulsory, and universal for 11 years, from ages four to 15, in state-run schools. The national literacy rate for citizens 15 years of age and older is 99 percent. According to North Korean-supplied figures provided in 2000, there were 1.5 million children in 27,017 nursery schools, 748,416 children in 14,167 kindergartens, 1.6 million students in 4,886 four-year primary schools, and 2.1 million students in 4,772 six-year secondary schools. Nearly 1.9 million students attended more than 300 colleges and universities. Data on teachers are much older. In 1988 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported 35,000 pre-primary, 59,000 primary, 111,000 secondary, 23,000 college and university, and 4,000 other postsecondary teachers in North Korea.