Korea - Education

Education

Main articles: Education in North Korea and Education in South Korea

The modern Korean school system consists of six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Students are required to go to elementary and middle school, and do not have to pay for their education, except for a small fee called a "School Operation Support Fee" that differs from school to school. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks South Korea's science education as the third best in the world and being significantly higher than the OECD average.

Korea also ranks second on math and literature and first in problem solving. Although South Korean students often rank high on international comparative tests, the education system is sometimes criticised for its emphasis on passive learning and memorization. The Korean education system is much more strict and structured than the education systems of most Western societies. Also, high cost and dependence on non-school private institutions (Hagwon (학원)), a for-profit private institute, academy or cram-school prevalent in South Korea, is criticised as a major social problem. After students enter university, however, the situation is markedly reversed.

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