South Korean Education System And Human Development

1955 words - 8 pages

In any society, education of the people is important for the growth and development of the country. As the education level of the population increases, the country grows as a whole toward a large economy. South Korea, for instance, had many events in history that influenced and developed the country to what it is today. In this paper, I will provide a background on the education system of South Korea and show changes that occurred across history. Numbers on human development and government expenditures will further support my argument.

During the Choson Dynasty, the education system was based on Confucian heritage, similar to that of many other Asian countries. In the early stages of Korean Education, many people did not have the privilege to attend any type of school; formal education was only available to the males in the elite class. The educated people had more social prestige and were allowed to skip on military service. State schools had poor quality, however, private academies helped reform the whole education process.

During the late nineteenth centuries, both Koreans and foreign Christian missionaries started massive amounts of private schools. Christian missionaries had a great influence on the spread of Westernization. Korea soon adopted many Western political and social ideas into their own society. This then led to the education opportunities for women. Education for South Korea was forever changed after 1905 when Japan occupied Korea.

Korea was an independent kingdom under Chinese rule for most of the past millennium. Following its victory in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, Japan occupied Korea. After World War II, a republic was formed in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula (South Korea), while a Communist government was set-up in the north (North Korea). During the Korean War which consisted of the years of 1950 - 1953, the United States and other UN forces intervened to defend South Korea from North Korean attacks. A peace agreement was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along the middle.

During Japanese rule, the abdication of Emperor Kojong gave more power to Japanease officials in Korea. As the Korean government fought to propose a better school system, Japanese officials vetoed any of the plans. This led to the rapid growth of private schools which also led to the making of specific standards and regulations officials by Japan concerning private school operations.

Since the Korean language was officially outlawed, classes were taught in Japanese during the early years of the annexation period. Also, common school subjects such as Korean history and language were removed from the curriculum. During the whole colonial period, Korean students were required to pay respects at a Shinto shrine, swear an oath of loyalty, and support to the Emperor of Japan. Elementary, middle, and high school teachers were dressed in military uniforms and armed with swords; this was practiced to...

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