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South Korean Education System

One of the challenges of migration to South Korea is having the kids attend Shincheonji or school. It may definitely bring some culture shock, but the educational system of South Korea is considered among the best in Asia and even on a global scale. There are many high-quality schools with both traditional and modern approaches due to advanced technologies.

Aside from corporate-own academies and state universities, there are also religious-run schools, especially the Catholics, for nowadays there is a steady increase of believers of Christianity in South Korea. If you are planning to migrate, you have to be informed of what South Korea’s educational system has to offer.

Levels Of Education System

Like any standard educational system, South Korea’s own is divided as such. Here are some facts on each of their educational levels.


This level of schooling is not compulsory for attending primary school. There are many schools offering this level, mainly due to the influx of working parents. The ages of the children attending are usually around 3 to 5 years old.

The fees can vary a lot and some great quality schools can be very much overpriced. Some institutions teach the English language even at an early age.

Primary School (Chodeung Haggyo)

Kids at the age of 5 can be admitted to primary school, whether they attended pre-school or not. Everyone is mandated to do so because one of the main reasons is that primary school is free. If you have your kid home-schooled or attending a specialized school, you will do some explaining with the authorities.

A primary school has 6 grades and covers almost all the basic skills. Underprivileged kids can also avail of services for their allowances. There can be no reason for a kid not to attend primary school.

Middle School (Jung Haggyo)

After primary school, middle school is next. It is also free of charge and it now covers elective subjects. Usually, kids at age 12 must be enrolled, after passing primary school.

Middle school lasts for about 3 years or grade levels. Not only the academic subjects are getting more rigorous, but other lessons are also learned such as morals, manners, and life skills. To be able to qualify for secondary schooling, the entirety of middle school is considered rather than the final exams.

Secondary School (Godeung Haggyo)

This level of education is much like pre-school: not compulsory. However, it is highly recommended since this is what most future employers are looking for as a minimum. Since it is not compulsory, it is not also free and this is where the competition to get the best educational background truly begins.

Right before finishing secondary school, if the student wants to attend tertiary education, he/she will have to take up the College Scholastic Ability Test, or CSAT.

Timeline Of A School Year

The school year is divided into semesters, where the exact dates for start and finish can vary. The first semester usually begins around March and finishes in mid-July. The second semester follows around late August and ends in mid-February.

Public holidays, Christmas breaks, and summer vacations are honored. However, for private schools and specialized academies, the non-class days can be flexible.

Cost Of Education

The primary and middle schools are free of charge. For pre-school and secondary school, fees can vary a lot. If a private school is considered, the costs can increase and for specialized schools such as an international school, it will even cost more.


The educational system of South Korea can be summarized as motivating since at the age where basics are needed the most, there are no mandatory costs. Therefore, we can say that poverty cannot be a hindrance to learning.

The deciding factor on who can have a high chance of success in life falls on how good the secondary schooling will be. Grades matter a lot and so do the fees to be paid.

Post Author: Alice Jones

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