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Education / Industry

Education System

Koreans regard education as very important. In the process of industrialization, human resources emerged as an important factor in connection with the need to cope with scarce capital and resources more efficiently. Parents’ fervor regarding their children’s education has resulted in the production of a large number of well-educated people, which in turn has helped the country achieve rapid economic growth. The basic school system is composed of kindergarten (1 to 3 years), elementary school (6 years), middle school (3 years), high school (3 years), and university. There are also junior colleges (2 or 3 years) and graduate schools (for masters and PhD degrees). Since 2004, all South Koreans are required to finish middle school under compulsory education. Since 2013, the government has provided childcare allowances for all children aged up to five years.

High Educational Competitiveness

Thanks to a good system and the high regard for education, the country has many skilled people in virtually all sectors. Korea’s universities produce talented young people specializing in basic science, including physics, and other major sectors, such as electronics, mechanical engineering, business management, economics, and accounting. Many educated adults can make themselves understood in English, with some of them speaking another foreign language. At present, the widespread availability of vocational education sessions at high schools helps students obtain qualifications in specialty areas.
According to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), South Korean students display a high level of academic achievement in reading, mathematics, and science.
The PISA 2015 results show that Korea was among the highest ranked OECD countries, ranking third to eighth in reading, first to fourth in mathematics, and fifth to eighth in science.

R&D Investment

South Korea has a large number of talented people engaged in cutting-edge research. At government institutes, in universities, and also within Korea’s many world-leading corporations, a vast range of projects are undertaken: from basic research to the development of advanced technologies and innovative new commercial products.
In recent years, more research and development has been focused on the fields of the Fourth Industrial Revolution including artificial intelligence (AI), electronics, computers, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data.
As of 2016, the number of researchers in Korea stands at 461,000, equivalent to 13.3 for every 1,000 economically active people. Their activities result in numerous patent applications, both at home and abroad.

Sophisticated Information Society

South Korea is a leading powerhouse in information and communication technology. It is a country full of dynamism. It became the first country in the world to commercialize the CDMA and WiBro technologies as well as established nationwide 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks. Since July 2017, fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks have been in trial operation with the aim of early commercialization in March 2019.
These sophisticated information and communication technologies have led to changes in diverse social sectors, including the innovation of government administration. With the help of such advanced technologies, the procedures for reporting a baby’s birth, moving home or registering a person’s death are handled more efficiently.
Under the Social Networking Service (SNS), people now use an interactive communication system in which the government provides useful information to people while members of the public can report cases of inconvenience to the government. In 2016, the country posted a total of 124 e-government–related exports worth USD 269.45 million.
In the global e-government survey conducted by the United Nations in 2018, South Korea ranked third, following Denmark and Australia. South Korea had ranked first in the 2010, 2012, and 2014 assessments.
With the improvement of sophisticated communication infrastructures as the improvement of advanced communication infrastructure and the increased use of mobile devices enables people to communicate with the world in real time, transforming existing ways to exchange information.
KakaoTalk, a smartphone messenger app developed in Korea, is highly popular, along with Twitter and Facebook. Podcast, another form of SNS, is establishing a new area in the communication (broadcasting) sector. Now, SNS even exerts an influence in politics through the formation of public opinion, in addition to its inherent functions such as the delivery of information or entertainment.

Changes and Vision

South Korea is rapidly changing into a knowledge-based society. Human resources are regarded as the most important element of society and as a primary source of national competitiveness.
In South Korea, the development of creative good-quality cultural products, in which human resources are combined with cultural resources, is viewed as an industrial sector that will play a leading role in the 21st century. Current examples of the country’s promising cultural products include K-Pop, TV dramas (e.g. Dae Jang Geum), and TV animations for infants (e.g. Pororo).
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) is rising, apparently as a result of the growing emphasis on investment and the development of human resources as key actors of creative industrial sectors. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of the life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. In 2016, South Korea’s HDI came to 0.901, ranking 18th among 188 countries.

Source: Korean Culture and Information Service 'Facts about Korea'

ReplyPlease leave a comment about any information you wanted to add!
Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

South Korea has devoted extra attention to technology development and innovation to promote growth. Innovation and technology are the key factors that have underpinned South Korean export competitiveness and fueled the country's remarkable economic rise over the past decades. In fact, South Korea is now spending the largest share of its GDP on research and development (R&D), even larger than the U.S. and Japan, two of the global leaders in innovation based on R&D intensity. Between 1996 and 2015, South Korea’s R&D intensity grew 88.5 percent (from 2.24 percent in 1996 to 4.23 percent in 2015), while the U.S.’s only grew 14.4 percent (from 2.44 percent in 1996 to 2.79 percent in 2015).

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

strong business environment fosters growth in the domestic market and attracts foreign investors. According to the World Bank, South Korea is ranked No. 4 in terms of the overall Ease of Doing Business (DB) index in 2018, while the U.S. is ranked No. 6.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

The most conspicuous social change in South Korea, however, was the emergence of a middle class. Land reform carried out in the early 1950s, together with the spread of modern education and the expansion of the economy, caused the disappearance of the once-privileged yangban (landholding) class, and a new elite emerged from the ranks of the former commoners. Another significant social change was the decline of the extended-family system: rural-to-urban migration broke traditional family living arrangements, as urban dwellers tended to live in apartments as nuclear families and, through family planning, to have fewer children. In addition, women strenuously campaigned for complete legal equality and won enhanced property ownership rights. Women also won the right to register as a head of family in a new family register system (hojŏk) that took effect in 2008.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

In the 1950s South Korea had an underdeveloped, agrarian economy that depended heavily on foreign aid. The military leadership that emerged in the early 1960s and led the country for a quarter century may have been autocratic and, at times, repressive, but its pragmatic and flexible commitment to economic development resulted in what became known as the “miracle on the Han River.” During the next three decades, the South Korean economy grew at an average annual rate of nearly 9 percent, and per capita income increased more than a hundredfold. South Korea was transformed into an industrial powerhouse with a highly skilled labour force. In the late 20th century, however, economic growth slowed, and in 1997 South Korea was forced to accept a $57 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—then the largest such rescue in IMF history.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

In the quarter century following the policy shift in the early 1960s, the South Korean per capita output grew at an unusually rapid rate of 7 percent per year, a growth performance paralleled only by Taiwan and two city-states, Hong Kong and Singapore. The portion of South Koreans enjoying the benefits of the growth increased more rapidly from the end of 1970s, when the rising trend in the Gini coefficient (which measures the inequality of income distribution) since the colonial period was reversed. The growth was attributable far more to increased use of productive inputs — physical capital in particular — than to productivity advances. The rapid capital accumulation was driven by an increasingly high savings rate due to a falling dependency ratio, a lagged outcome of rapidly falling mortality during the colonial period. The high growth was also aided by accumulation of human capital, which started with the introduction of modern education under the Japanese rule.

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

After the war, South Korean policymakers set upon stimulating economic growth by promoting indigenous industrial firms, following the example of many other post-World War II developing countries. The government selected firms in targeted industries and gave them privileges to buy foreign currencies and to borrow funds from banks at preferential rates. It also erected tariff barriers and imposed a prohibition on manufacturing imports, hoping that the protection would give domestic firms a chance to improve productivity through learning-by-doing and importing advanced technologies. Under the policy, known as import-substitution industrialization (ISI), entrepreneurs seemed more interested in maximizing and perpetuating favors by bribing bureaucrats and politicians, however. This behavior, dubbed as directly unproductive profit-seeking activities (DUP), caused efficiency to falter and living standards to stagnate, providing a background to the collapse of the First Republic in April 1960.

Lesedi López
3 months ago

I recently read an article about Korea's education system. It was kinda vicious to read. It was mentioned in the TV program "Yeong jae balguldan" (Finding Genius). In the one episode of the TV show, an elementary school girl goes to eight private institutes to study math, art, history, violin, ballet, Korean, Chinese, and English. During the show, an educational consultant recommended her parents send her to a math academy and quit her favorite subjects, which were violin and ballet. Afterward, the girl asked her mom when she could dance ballet or play music, and her mom replied that her daughter may no longer have time to pursue those interests.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact17 Korea’s universities produce talented young people specializing in basic science, including physics, and other major sectors, such as electronics, mechanical engineering, business management, economics, and accounting. Many educated adults can make themselves understood in English, with some of them speaking another foreign language. At present, the widespread availability of vocational education sessions at high schools helps students obtain qualifications in specialty areas.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact16 In this international middle and high school students' competition encompassing math, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and information, South Koreans record a good score every year.

Willy Liman
3 months ago

#Fact15 Koreans regard education as very important. In the process of industrialization, human resources emerged as an important factor in connection with the need to cope with scarce capital and resources more efficiently. Parents’ fervor regarding their children’s education has resulted in the production of a large number of well-educated people, which in turn has helped the country achieve rapid economic growth. The basic school system is composed of kindergarten (1 to 3 years), elementary school (6 years), middle school (3 years), high school (3 years), and university. There are also junior colleges (2 or 3 years) and graduate schools (for masters and PhD degrees). Since 2004, all South Koreans are required to finish middle school under compulsory education. Since 2013, the government has provided childcare allowances for all children aged up to five years.