Educational System of Korea
Child Care Centers and Kindergartens
Child care centers are daycare facilities established under the Child Care Act for pre-school infants and children under six years of age who are in need of care. The types of child care centers include national and public child care centers, child care centers of social welfare corporations, child care centers of corporations and organizations, workplace child care centers, cooperative child care centers, and private child care centers. In general, child care centers operate six days a week for at least twelve hours a day. Costs, operating hours, and programs may differ depending on the type of a center.
Kindergartens are schools established under the Early Childhood Education Act built for childhood education, unlike child care centers whose main focus is to provide care for children. Kindergartens are categorized into national kindergartens established and run by the country, public kindergartens established by local governments, and private kindergartens established by corporations or individuals. Currently, three years of pre-school childhood education is provided free of charge. As of 2019, parents are eligible for financial support of kindergarten tuition fees, regardless of their income level, for children between the ages of three and five. Application for support can be made online1) or by visiting eup/myeon/dong community support centers.
※ Bokjiro website: http://www.bokjiro.go.kr (Language: English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese)
Elementary, Middle, and High School Education
The Korean education system is based on six years of elementary school, three years of middle school, three years of high school, and four years of university (or two to three years of college). Six years of elementary school and three years of middle school are mandatory and are thereby provided free of charge. Since high school education is not mandatory, parents have to pay for tuition, including the entrance and tuition fees. Their fees may vary depending on the regions and types of schools.
As the bill for free education of high school students was recently passed, it will be gradually applied starting from seniors in the second semester of 2019 and will be fully implemented nationwide from 2021. The bill, however, will not be applied to private high schools, and their tuition fees may vary.
Universities may be applied for through either susi (early decision admission) or jeongsi (regular admission). Susi admission requires a student’s school life records, including GPA and academic performance and essay examinations, whereas jeongsi admission is more focused on the results of the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT). Applicants may find recruitment details and selection processes of each university on their websites. Details may vary depending on the school.
Types of Universities
Types of universities in Korea include four-year universities, industrial colleges, colleges of education, Korean National Open University, cyber universities, two- to three-year community colleges, and colleges of technology.
Foreign Schools and Foreign Educational Institutes
Foreign schools in Korea are established to provide the children of foreigners residing in Korea with education equivalent to that of their own countries. Foreign schools also have a quota for students with Korean nationality who have returned after having resided overseas for at least three years. There are 40 foreign schools in Korea, with more than half of them located in Seoul, and many in Gyeonggi-do and Busan. Most foreign schools use English as their official language and adopt American educational curriculum. A student attending a foreign or international school must take separate lessons for Korean history and Korean language accredited by the Ministry of Education in order to apply for a Korean university. Current educational curriculum provided by international schools is sufficient for applying to universities abroad. Interested parties are encouraged to thoroughly check whether foreign schools of interest provide accredited educational programs for university admissions.
Number of Schools and Students
as of January 9, 2019
※ Source : Korean Education Statistics Service
Number of Schools by Language
as of January 9, 2019
※ Source : International School Information (https://www.isi.go.kr)