Overview of the Educational System in Korea

Overview of the Educational System in Korea

The educational system of Korea consists of six grades of primary school, three grades of middle

school, three years of high school and four years of university (or two years of college). The six-

year curriculum of primary schools and the three-year curriculum of middle schools are operated

as mandatory education, and tuition is free during this period.

School Calendar in Korea

In Korea the school year is divided into two semesters. After the first semester, there is about a

month of summer vacation. After the second semester, there is about a month of winter vacation,

and a term-end holiday of one to two weeks (after an end-of-year school ceremony) before the

start of the new grade year (the next March). Generally, the first semester starts in early March,

and the second semester starts between late August and early September. the education

Curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school is divided into two sections: curricular and

extracurricular called creative experiential activities.

Support for Multicultural Students

Korean Education (Preliminary schools)

Elementary, middle, and high schools that are designated as preliminary schools provide Korean

classes to support Korean language and culture education for students such as immigrated

children, etc. who lack Korean language skills. A total of 195 schools are in operation nationwide

as preliminary schools. When the school does not operate the program, you can still get English

language education through'visiting preliminary school.' You can check for local preliminary

schools through Education Offices of si or do, or on the Multi-cultural Education Portal


Bilingual education

To encourage bilingual education, bilingual textbooks are developed and distributed. 'Bilingual

Speech Contest' is held every year. You can visit the Edunet ( or the National

Center for Multi-cultural Education portal ( to download the bilingual textbooks

(○○ Language to learn with Mom and Dad*」, etc.The'Bilingual Speech Contest' selects

students through school and local contests to hold the national contest every October.

10 languages ​​including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Filipino, English, Indonesian,

Thai, Cambodian, Mongolian, etc.

Global Bridge

Global Bridge provides education programs to foster global talents of multicultural families who

have potentials in mathematics, science, languages, leadership, or arts and athletics. students of

4th grade to high school can participate. The classes are at least two times a month (on

weekends and holidays) during school semester, and once a week during vacation. you can find

out how to participate at National Research Foundation of Korea ( (Operated by

20 universities nationwide

University/College Student Mentors for Multicultural Students

1:1 matching with a university/college student to support the adaptation to school and basic

learning skills. The university/college student mentor visits the school of the multicultural student

to help with study after school or during vacation. You can get mentoring for approximately 20

hours per week (40 hours per week during vacation). You can participate in this program through

school or local children's center.

International schools

International schools (foreign schools) are for non-Korean children and children of

Korean parents who lived abroad for at least three years with their children and returned

to Korea. They are designed to provide education for those who are not able to continue

their studies at an ordinary Korean school due to the lack of Korean language skills.

There are 40 international/foreign schools in Korea, 19 being in Seoul, 6 in Gyeonggi-do,

5 in Busan, 2 in Incheon, 2 in Gyeongsangnam-do, 2 in Daegu, and one school each in

Daejeon, Gwangju, Ulsan, and Gangwon-do

Entrance Qualifications

 At least one of the prospective student's parents is a foreigner

 Korean citizens who have lived in foreign countries for over 3 years (including people

with multiple citizenship)

 Children of naturalized Korean citizens who have difficulty continuing education at regular

schools (review by school steering committee required)

o Students not capable of keeping up with classes due to the lack of Korean language


o Students having a hard time fitting into Korean school due to cultural differences

o Students not being able to continue studies in their school due to other reasons

Screening for Admission

 Admission screenings are carried out by schools. Detailed methods for screening vary by

school, but many emphasize document reviews and interviews. It is usually possible to

apply any time throughout the year.

 Required documents for admission differ by school, but required documents typically

Include: immigration certificate, passport, medical records register, certificates of

enrollment from previous schools, academic transcripts, and official language test score

from corresponding country, etc. Please check with your school of interest for more

detailed admission information.

Overall guidance homepage for international education institutes and schools

 At the overall guidance homepage for international education institutes and schools

(, detailed information, such as admission procedures and tuition by each

school, is provided.

Preparing to Enter School (Elementary school)

Entering school can be both a joyful and a stressful event for a child. At home, parents should

encourage the child to prepare for school life with a joyful heart.

 Clothing (Garments): Dress the student in plain and casual clothing that will make his or her

school life comfortable before sending him/her to school.

 Backpack: The child's backpack should not be too big and should be easy for the child to carry. It

is better to prepare a backpack that is simple and neat, rather than one that is too trendy or has

complex patterns.

 Pencil, Pencil Case, and Eraser: A pencil case should be simple rather than complex, and cases

that include games should be avoided. At the beginning of the school year, a 2B pencil (dark

lead) is recommended. Prepare two or three pencils and one eraser. In the upper years,

mechanical pencils are recommended.

 Notebook: Prepare a notepad for 1st-2nd graders. Prepare a home notice notebook and a

general notebook in advance, and follow the guidelines of the classroom teacher regarding other

notebooks (dictation notebook, home notice notebook, general book, etc.)

 Crayons and Color Pencils: 1st graders typically need about 12 colored crayons.

 Shoe Bag and Indoor Shoes: The shoe bag should be large enough to hold running shoes. There

There are many kinds of indoor shoes in colors such as pink, sky blue, etc. Avoid indoor shoes that are

uncomfortable to walk in or are too big. Shoes can be bought in the shoe store or at the

stationery shop in front of the school. No shoe bag is required if the student keeps his / her her indoor

shoes in a locker.

Useful Information

Things for your Child to Learn before Starting School

 Learn the school name and how to say it.

 Learn to write his/her own name and the names of family members.

 Study Korean consonants and vowels.

 Learn simple numbers (1-10)

 Learn how to use a pencil, crayons, scissors, and an eraser.

 Learn to draw circles, horizontal lines, and vertical lines with a color pencil.

 Learn the names of colors.

 Be able to distinguish his/her own things from those of others.

 Know his/her home address and phone number and how to make and receive calls.

 Learn basic table manners.

Preparing Your Child for the Beginning of the School


Giving a Good Impression of School

 Some children may be afraid of school. For these children, let them know that school is a fun

place by visiting the school and taking a tour around the 1st grade classrooms and other places.

 Tell them in advance about the rules to observe at school.

 Tell them that he/she can make many friends in school.

The Teacher: Helping your Child Navigate School Life

 Tell children that a teacher is someone who tells children what they want and need to know.

 Talk to your child about how to behave in the classroom (following rules, keeping promises, etc.)

Being Independent

 Give a list of objects to the child, and let him/her put them in the backpack in order. have him/her

practice how to arrange school supplies and his/her backpack, giving the child a sense of

independence and autonomy (wash face, arrange things on own, know how to use the rest-room,


Attend School in Good Health

 Get teeth, eyes, ears etc. checked, and receive treatment for any illness in advance.

 It is advisable to inform the classroom teacher in advance if the child has any food allergies or

Illnesses (milk allergy, atopic skin, enteritis, etc.)

Know the Safe Way to School

 If possible, it's best to walk to school. Check the route to school a number of times.

 Make sure to walk on the left side of the road, use the crosswalk, and understand traffic signals

in order to commute to school safely.

 If taking the bus, get on the bus in an orderly fashion.

 Don't walk in front of or behind the bus after getting off the bus.

 Cross the road using the overhead bridge or underground passage in areas where there's an

overhead bridge or underground passage.

 Don't run on crosswalks.

 Follow the instructions of the crossing guard if there is one present.

 Get back on the curb if the crosswalk signal switches when you start to cross the street. Cross

quickly if you are already beyond the center line.

Useful Information for Middle Schools

School violence

School violence refers to acts including, but not limited to: assault, blackmail, enticement,

defamation, threats, coercion, forcing favors, sexual violence, bullying, cyber bullying,

and physical, mental or property damages caused by harassment through exposure to

pornographic or violent information on computer networks. Behaviors that some may

view as not serious/student pranks may still constitute school violence and be subject to

corresponding penalties.

Suspect School Violence in the Following Cases

 If your child frequently loses or has damaged clothing, shoes, or glasses.

 I f you frequently find physical injuries or bruises on your child's body and/or your child

says he or she accidentally fell or was injured while exercising.

 When you find scribbles in/on your child's textbook, notebook, or bag.

 If your child asks for pocket money too often, or takes money from home without telling


 If your child seems hurt/upset or does not want to come out of his or her room.

 If your child does not want to eat food that he or she used to enjoy, or if he/she eats in

excess upon returning home from school.

 If your child often pretends to be sick to avoid going to school.

 If your child hates to even answer phone calls from his or her close friends.

 If your child suddenly asks to move to another place or to be transferred to another


 If you see a sudden change in your child's grades.

 If your child sweats, talks, or groans while sleeping.

 If your child gets angry more often than before, and shed tears.

How to Cope with School Violence

The victim should immediately request counseling from his or her homeroom teacher,

and report any damages. If there is a problem, the victim may call the National Police

Agency for School Violence Report Center (☎117). The Center is operated 24 hours a

day, 365 days a year.


 School Council for School Violence Response

Parents must report to the homeroom teacher if they suspect their child has been a victim

of school violence. After being notified by the parents, the homeroom teacher must report

the incident to the appropriate organization. After the organization conducts an

investigation and reports to the head of the school, the school council for school violence

response can hold a meeting and pronounce a judgment. A parent may request that a

meeting of the school council be convened for the school's response to the violence. The

School Council for School Violence Responses aims to prevent school violence,

deliberates on measures to counter violence, protects victims, deliberates on measures

to counter attackers, and arbitrates disputes between victims and attackers.

 Wee Class (school counseling center)

This primary counseling class was created for students in crisis who are experiencing

difficulty with school life due to various reasons such as lack of interpersonal skills,

school violence, or juvenile delinquency. The class provides a counseling service to aid

students are adapting to school life.

Office of education

 Wee Center (student counseling support center)

Wee Center is the secondary counseling organization established at the office of

education level for students in crisis who cannot be helped by the school. the center

provides one-stop services that are customized for students, and offers a combination of

professional diagnosis, counseling and therapy.

 Wee School

Wee School is the tertiary counseling organization established at offices of education of

cities and guns for students who require long-term therapy and education due to serious

crises that result in a suspension of education. It operates various commissioned

educational services including alternative learning programs at boarding schools.

Social Organizations and Enterprises

 SOS Support Team on School Violence

The Foundation for Preventing Youth Violence, Youth Peace operates an SOS support

team that provides various programs such as school violence prevention, problem

solving, and recovering for school violence victims and attackers, families, and schools.

Call the national counseling number 1588-9128 (Arm of Salvation, Youth Violence)

Prevention Foundation) or visit the website (

o School violence integrated support center: provides a multilateral integrated service

including psychological, medical and legal services for victims and attackers; offers

support by linking with a professional institution related to school violence

o School violence-specialized counseling center: psychological counseling, treatment,

interview counseling, group counseling, cyber counseling, visiting counseling, camps,

education, etc.

o School violence dispute settlement & conflict resolution center: provides settlement,

resolution program, conflict management, coach disputeing, consulting, legal advice, etc.

for recovering relations between victims, attackers, families and schools, and resolving


 Help Call for Youth

Victims of school violence and their parents can call ☎1388 to receive legal information

and counseling. The counseling center also operates a counseling program for

perpetrators of school violence to reduce the chance of repeat offenses.

 Sangdami Ssam

Internet portal Daumkakao, KB and the Korean Open Doctors Society support counseling

and treatment related to school violence via the web and a mobile app. Students who

download the My People app using their smartphone can select “Sangdami Ssam” as a

recommended buddy and send messages to get support from the counselor. Students

who are deemed in need of additional support can be treated by doctors of the Korean

Open Doctors Society and participate in medical volunteer activities at home and abroad

to regain confidence.

How to report school violence

Call 117 (counseling center for report on school violence) without dialing an area code

(with an area code if using a mobile phone), and students can quickly access emergency

rescue, protection or counseling 24 hours a day, 365 days. Students can also report on

the website of Doran Doran, school violence prevention program,

( anonymously. via #0117(text message) or 117CHAT

(application). They can report through a school report box or to a school police officer.

Types of High Schools

General high school

High schools which provide general education throughout various areas. This type of accounts for

the largest proportion of the high school types. Students are allocated and chosen by lot using a

computer according to their region, or are selected by the principal.

Special Purpose High School

This type of high school aims to provide specialized education in special areas. special purpose

high schools include schools for nurturing science talents (science high school), schools for

Talents competent in foreign language (foreign language high school), schools for nurturing

international talents (international high school), schools for nurturing artists (arts high school),

schools for nurturing athletes (sports high school), and schools that are directly linked with a

specific industry (customized industry high school). Students are selected based on an

assessment of their independent learning abilities, which looks at school records, teacher

recommendations, interviews, practical exam grades, etc.

Significantly, science, foreign language, and international schools select 20% of their student

from the group requiring social care.

Specialized High School

This type of school aims to nurture talents in specific areas, grouping students with similar

talents, aptitudes, and abilities. It also provides experience-oriented professional education,

including field studies. Students can take various vocational trainings, such as agriculture,

biotechnology, industry, commercial information, fishing, shipping, housekeeping, business, etc.,

according to the characteristics of school, in addition to regular courses such as Korean

language, mathematics, English, social studies, etc. Students are selected based on school

grades, interviews, and a practical test.

Autonomous High School

This type of school is granted autonomy and accountability in school management, and provides

various specialized educational programs. Types include the ¡°autonomous public high school¡±

and the ¡°autonomous private high school.¡± In an autonomous public high school, students are

allocated, chosen by computer depending on the region, or selected based on school grade.

Autonomous private high schools select students based on an assessment of each student¡¯s

self-directed learning ability; this can include the consideration of school records, teacher

recommendations, interviews, practical test scores, etc.

Welfare Services for Students

Financial support available for students varies by region or type of educational expenses.

Education cost support for elementary school, middle school, and high school

school students from low-income families


 Students who receive support for school supplies, tuition and admission fee by

registering at their local community center as subjects for basic living security or students

from single-parent families.

 Students who are acknowledged as belonging to one of the two lowest income classes at

their local community centers (eup, myeon, dong)

 Students within the median income of 50%~60% based on family income and property

(differs by city, province, and type of educational expenses)

 Students from low-income families who do not meet the income and property criteria but

are personally recommended by the principal due to their economic difficulties that

cannot be documented

Assistance Items

 (High school tuition) Funding for high school admission fee, tuition, and school

management cost

 (Meal expenses) Full funding for lunches at elementary, middle, and high school (180

lunches a year, excluding free lunch regions)

 (After-school courses) Maximum funding of 600,000 won per year for

elementary/middle/high school students to take after-school courses from private

educational institutes

 (Education information) Internet usage funding of 17,600 won per month, 1 PC provided

to each low-income household.

For more information about the educational assistance, check at your local community service center

or educational assistance OneClick application online.

(☎ Inquiry: Central Counseling Center for Educational Cost Support 1544-9654

All the information is taken from:

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