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 Korean
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
To encourage bilingual education, bilingual textbooks are developed and distributed. ‘Bilingual
Speech Contest’ is held every year. You can visit the Edunet (www.edunet.net) or the National
Center for Multi-cultural Education portal (www.edunet.net) 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 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 (www.nrf.re.kr). (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 (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
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
(www.isi.go.kr), 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
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
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 indoor
shoes in a locker.
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.)
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 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
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 get 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 in 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 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 recovery 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 (www.jikim.net).
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,
o School violence dispute settlement & conflict resolution center: provides settlement,
dispute resolution program, conflict management, coaching, 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.
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,
(www.dorandoran.go.kr) 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 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 principa.
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 study. 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 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
(High school tuition) Funding for high school admission fee, tuition, and school
management support 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
(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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