Changes in Koreas school policy

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Period21 May 2011

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleChanges in Koreas school policy
    Media name/outletKorea Times
    DescriptionKorea’s school system is based on Confucian principles and has been associated with transforming the former agrarian nation into a manufacturing powerhouse. Besides its success, recently there has been a debate about the Korean teaching style, influenced by foreign organizations proselytizing permissive Western education.

    This year, Korea’s largest school district has banned corporal punishment, followed by two other provinces. Teachers’ rights are restricted, while student rights dramatically increased. Public reactions in Korea are mixed: Korean parents are unwilling to see their children spend so much time on work instead of play. With affluence, parents want to give their children what they didn't have ― more spare time and less pressure. But the teachers’ union regrets the move, and the majority of students are in fact in favor of strict discipline.

    Teachers fear that classroom management will be challenging, and that academic standards will drop. Many parents share these concerns. Korea hosts some of the world’s best universities such as Seoul National University, but the continuation of such success relies on the influx of self-disciplined and performance-oriented students.

    No doubt, one of the key factors leading to Korea’s rise from a developing country to an emerging market and eventually OECD member has been its performance-oriented education system. Changing that very system is an immensely risky strategy.
    Producer/AuthorChris Baumann, Rosalie L Tung, Hamin Hamin
    PersonsChris Baumann