10:23 am - 01/21/2013

Education Ministry Aims to Make High School Education Free


The education ministry will aim to make high school education free for everyone by 2017
as part of efforts to implement President-elect Park Geun-hye's campaign pledges on education policy, officials said Tuesday.

Officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology reported the plan to the presidential transition committee during a policy briefing earlier in the day, saying that it would expand the current program that provides free education only to students in vocational schools or from low-income families.

These groups account for about a third of all high schoolers.

If realized, the plan will help ensure all children aged 3-17 receive free childcare and education before the end of Park's administration. The outgoing government is pushing to provide free childcare services to all children aged 3 to 5.

On Park's pledge to halve the burden of college tuition fees, the ministry said it expects to be able to give scholarships to all students in the bottom 30 percent income bracket within this year, a year ahead of schedule.

Ministry officials also reported plans to implement Park's pledge to exempt middle school students from taking exams for one semester during which they will be able to explore possible career paths.

Based on Park's pledge to launch a new ministry overseeing the science and technology industry, the officials said they plan to increase investment in scientific research and development to 5 percent of gross domestic product. 

Yonhap News via Korean Heral
benihime99 21st-Jan-2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
XD I read the title too fast and understood "Make High School Education Free" as in high school being freed of education and I was all "WHAT"?

It's kinda weird to me that a public school wouldn't be free tbh. So yeah for free high school

Edited at 2013-01-21 03:37 pm (UTC)
iftheshoefits88 21st-Jan-2013 04:24 pm (UTC)
I had the same reaction! I was like wut....0.0

But yeah! Anything to further education and provide for the youth, I'm totally behind!
missnothings 21st-Jan-2013 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah I didn't know public school wasn't free... I'm so used to it being open to everyone.
keyllastic 21st-Jan-2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
Sounds super grandiose - but I really hope they'll succeed, even if a little late of their planned schedules.
921227 21st-Jan-2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
That all sounds great. But it's really odd that it isn't free to begin with. In the US- public school education through high school is free and I only knew you had to pay for materials, not exactly attendance. Which is kind of shitty when you think about it because high school is....mandatory I'm assuming?
fabledlamb 21st-Jan-2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
High school isn't compulsory in South Korea. You're only required to graduate from middle school (at the age of 14/15). But in reality almost all students (more than 90%) finish high school so making it free for everyone is definitely a step in the right direction imo.
royu_kiyo 21st-Jan-2013 07:33 pm (UTC)
I think it's only mandatory to go to elementary and middle schools. You can drop off from high school, at least in the US.
jaghatar 22nd-Jan-2013 07:30 am (UTC)
in sweden we don't even have to pay for materials or lunch and university education is also free

thank god i am in Sweden
kunstpause 21st-Jan-2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
Definitely a step forward.
But it baffles me every time to see, that there are still countries where you have to pay for education. (Don't get me started on healthcare)
So every time there are news like this I am very happy about it.
satin999 21st-Jan-2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
I didn't even know it wasn't free. Hopefully they'll succeed.
ari_meh 21st-Jan-2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
fatjackinc 21st-Jan-2013 07:33 pm (UTC)
ikr i was shockeddddd
scubajr 21st-Jan-2013 08:21 pm (UTC)
goldynchickie 21st-Jan-2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
Totally mis-read the title, lol. Well, I hope this happens.
zombiechick815 21st-Jan-2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
I hope this goes through. Everyone deserves to be educated.
p_jae 21st-Jan-2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic.
lightframes 21st-Jan-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
I think it sounds great. Increased access to education and healthcare are important.
fantaesticbaby 21st-Jan-2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
I read that as 'Higher education' and thought it meant university and I was ready to be bitter and jealous.
Lol :(
kunstpause 21st-Jan-2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
Is university that expensive where you live? I am really interested in that since I grew up thinking it's fee everywhere for a long while...
whynotplay 21st-Jan-2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
in the US it's suuuuper expensive :(
royu_kiyo 21st-Jan-2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
This. Still trying to pay off my thousands of dollars student loan debt. Fuck college.
kunstpause 21st-Jan-2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
Are there at least ways to get a loan that are open for everyone?
It is strange to think about how different it is. The only thing we pay here in my part of Europe is an administration fee (about 200 Euros) a year - most of that is for using the public transport for free.
I think the universities here would be suddenly very empty if it got expensive.
uledy 21st-Jan-2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
The only thing we pay here in my part of Europe is an administration fee (about 200 Euros) a year - most of that is for using the public transport for free.

That...sounds...wonderful ;A;
benihime99 21st-Jan-2013 08:49 pm (UTC)
Not to mention that usually part of the health care is included in those fees so it's really low (at least it is so in France)

But that's one of the case where UK is rejecting Europe, Uni is freaking expensive there

Edited at 2013-01-21 08:52 pm (UTC)
ideservestars 21st-Jan-2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
You can do a two year program at a community college which for most people are free and paid for using grants from the government, but its only low paying jobs you gain. Universities on the other hand.. only students who families make under 24 thousand a year can get close to a free ride. There is a limit to how much in grants and government loans you can get and it usually doesnt cover the whole years cost. For the left over, you either have to come up with the thousands of dollars yourself or get a private loan. To put it in perspective, I had to drop out this year. My mom only makes 24k a year and my old school costs 25k a year. I only got 16k in aid from the government and was rejected for a private loan because my mom doesn't make enough. Sorry I'm on my phone if that all doesn't make sense, I can elaborate later.
fantaesticbaby 21st-Jan-2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
It's not as bad as some places, but I was unlucky enough to be in the first year of students in the UK having to pay £9,000 a year to study. Which tbh is unfair because Scottish and Welsh students get it free ¬__¬

Edited at 2013-01-21 10:01 pm (UTC)
benihime99 21st-Jan-2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Depending on the country Uni is "almost" free
I almost died when I was in Cardiff because it was so expensive (for me) yet I had a "european discount".
fantaesticbaby 21st-Jan-2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
ugh university in the UK is ridiculously expensive for foreign students, and it's bad enough for us English students :((
I am so jealous of people who don't have to pay for university, it is another problem they don't have.
jaghatar 22nd-Jan-2013 07:34 am (UTC)
you should study in Sweden it's probably cheaper ( it used to be free for foreign students as well)
fantaesticbaby 22nd-Jan-2013 09:33 am (UTC)
Oh wow that's awesome for Sweden!
I did look at applying for foreign universities but our system in the UK doesn't have anything for people who want to apply abroad, so you have to do it by yourself, which is slightly overwhelming tbh.
jaghatar 22nd-Jan-2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
i understand but Swedish universities have great websites and guides for international students. i also think that if you are a UK citizen you don't have to pay any admission fee or tuition fee in another words no need for loans ( https://www.antagning.se/en/All-you-need-to-know1/Studying-in-Sweden/Fees-and-scholarships/Am-I-required-to-pay/Sabine-EU-citizen/)

ps a plus is that it's only a 2 hour flight from the UK

useful links



fantaesticbaby 22nd-Jan-2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
Aw wow you are so sweet for doing this, thank you!
I'm afraid though I've already started a four year course in the UK so I'm sorta stuck with my loans OTL

Perhaps if I decide to do a Masters I will consider Sweden :3
jaghatar 22nd-Jan-2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
no problem glad if i could help in any way ;)
soramai 21st-Jan-2013 06:48 pm (UTC)
great news
b1gay4 21st-Jan-2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
pleas e dO
asnindie 21st-Jan-2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
Well it's good for social mobility but most schools will still refuse kids from poorer backgrounds, as is the case in the UK most of the time.
anewsymphony 21st-Jan-2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
the problem with south korean education is not high school tuition fees, it's that e v e r y o n e goes to hakwons/private institutions to get ahead of what is taught in schools and what you actually learn in school is more like revising what you've learnt at hakwon. people who don't go to hakwons just cannot viably compete against students who do (well unless they're super gifted i guess) and this is one of the factors (among many) that causes korea's social mobility problem, not tuition fees. it is hakwon fees that parents pour their money into (not just during the school year but during holidays too) and the gov't knows this.

s korea needs to up the quality of their teaching and provide actual value for money/teach kids how to THINK rather than memorise, how to solve problems by themselves rather than just teaching them to learn the solutions. it needs a complete reform, and this initiative, well-intentioned as it is, will do nothing in the long run for s korea's education problem and the way it churns out people who are incapable of thinking outside the box. sorry for ranting but i feel really strongly about this. i feel lucky as hell to have been brought up in the west but the rest of my cousins weren't. it's a joke of an education system.
muzegrey 22nd-Jan-2013 12:14 am (UTC)
Actually students can compete even if they don't go to hagwons, but many are not self-disciplined. Hagwons usually reinforce what kids are learning at school, unless it's a hagwon for college test taking.
And most hagwons are used for babysitting just as much as extra studying.

The real factor is that in Korea business is done through networking and if you aren't in the right circles, even with good specs it's hard to climb into anything. Not that specs are a good thing anyway because having good specs doesn't mean a worker will necessarily be good at work.
anewsymphony 22nd-Jan-2013 07:55 am (UTC)
Hagwons usually reinforce what kids are learning at school

i'd argue that in a lot of cases it's probably the other way round but i guess it depends on the hakwon.

and yes, that's why i aaid it was one of many factors. the point i was trying to make is that it's not going to make a difference to social mobility in korea which i think we probably both agree on
xoshio 21st-Jan-2013 09:38 pm (UTC)
in denmark you get paid for studying lol
k0dama 21st-Jan-2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
A step in the right direction. I remember paying for middle school fees...
But there's still more to do to improve people's lack of social skills.
chibiyunie 21st-Jan-2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
This is good! Education should be free for everyone.

In my country school is basically free until you turn 18, you start paying after that. We used to have a pretty good system of getting a monthly amount of money (depending on your situation, if you lived at home or in a student room etc) to pay for school. It would not cover everything, but at least a lot. Now with the whole economic crisis and my country and government fucking the whole system up, you now basically have to loan all the money so you can all pay it back afterwards. This makes a lot of people decide to not attend higher education, because - compared with the serious lack in jobs for students and younger people with no experience - it is just to expensive. I know this is already a thing in the US, but growing up with education being mostly free, this is pretty strange for me.

I have the luck I still fall under the old rules, lol ~

Edited at 2013-01-21 10:23 pm (UTC)
bumie 21st-Jan-2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
that's nice , I hope they will achieve that before 2017
aleexnews 21st-Jan-2013 11:55 pm (UTC)
this is good, i hope it goes through very soon. school here in the U.S has always been free for us but when I lived in el salvador my parents had to pay for school since i was in kindergarten to middle school but only because they were private schools, which are supposed to be better but I think the public schools in the U.S are really good too if not the same.

though that could also be because when I entered the public high school here the building had been built that same year, they spent $82 million on it and everything was just really good, classrooms were nice, fully equipped, etc.
muzegrey 22nd-Jan-2013 12:09 am (UTC)
Too bad most Korean public schools suck anyway. The quality of the schools is just terrible.

I'm going to be ending up paying $20,000 + a year to send my child to international school. :( Gotta start saving!
weerainbow 22nd-Jan-2013 12:12 am (UTC)
Wow I always thought it was bad enough here in Ireland where school education is meant to be free but there are loads of expenses for materials etc for school (the actual costs depend on what school you go to as well) especially for secondary school.
I was so lucky to grow up in Scotland where my entire school education was completely free! I hope things in Korea will progress towards free education for everyone and especially for those who have lower incomes.
iksagor 22nd-Jan-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
I hope this happens, it will help lots of families and children.
erisinia 22nd-Jan-2013 04:25 am (UTC)
this definitely seems positive, especially the bit about allowing middle-school students time to explore career paths.

I am worried, selfishly, because rumor has it Park wants to cut my job (teaching in a poor rural elementary school on gov't contract). There's lots of noise about eliminating our program...which, okay, some people just come to Korea to goof off and they give foreigners a bad name, but most of us actually do some good (exposing kids not only to English spoken by a native, but to foreigners themselves)

If you want to de-emphasize English learning, I can get that, but cutting out native speakers seems short-sighted

/OT csb
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