7 Things You Didn't Know About Schools in Korea

By Koreaboo

No matter what country your're studying in, there are usually cultural differences in the school environment alone. South Korea's habits are no exception. Here is a list of 7 things you probably didn't know about schools in South Korea. 

  • Students are highly competitive

    Contrary to many standards of failure in different countries, South Korea believes that the only way to success is getting straight As in all your classes. There is a high amount of competition in Korea in order to be admitted into colleges that are not always readily available to everyone. 

  • Students strive to fit in

    In other countries, students are taught to stand out and be yourself. This is not the case in Korea. Their goals are to fit in with others in order to avoid cases of bullying because they stand out too much. Students believe that it is their duty to do well in school and know the answers to everything in class.  

  • There is no such thing as a dropout

    Even though students fail a class or cause trouble, students do not have an option of dropping out. If there is no choice, the student will be transferred into a new school. However, dropping out is never an option since Korea hopes to have a large percent of educated students.

  • School days can last up to 16 hours

    A student typically wakes up at 6:30AM to get ready and go to school. Unlike many other countries, school days can last up to 16 hours. After getting out of class at around 4PM, many students go take private lessons until midnight so they can do well for college placement exams.

  • Students are the janitors

    In Korea, there is typically only one janitor in the school. However, his job is to only fix windows and change light bulbs. All the cleaning in the school classrooms, bathrooms, and gyms are done by the students before and after class. This is done so that students are disciplined and learn to clean after themselves. 

  • Corporal punishment still exists

    Whenever a student breaks the rules or interrupts a lesson in the classroom, teachers still physically punish their students for their actions. The student would usually hold their hands out while the teacher hits their hands with a ruler or a stick or the student will be forced to hold their hands above their head for a period of time.

  • There are no shoes beyond the door

    Just as it is known in Asian cultures to not wear shoes inside the house, in Korea it is a rule to not wear your outside shoes into the school building. Before entering the front doors, students must change into indoor shoes or wear sneakers in order to keep the floor clean.