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Is school hard in Korean?


Korean education is known for its rigor and high standards, but is school hard in Korean? This article will explore the challenges students face in the Korean education system and provide insights into the factors that contribute to its difficulty.

History of Education in Korea

To understand the current state of education in Korea, it’s important to look at its history. Korea has a long tradition of valuing education, with a strong emphasis on Confucianism and the civil service exam system. This legacy has shaped the modern education system and contributed to its reputation for being demanding.

The Structure of Korean Education

Korean education is divided into six years of primary school, three years of middle school, and three years of high school. The curriculum is heavily focused on math, science, and language arts, with less emphasis on creative subjects like art and music. Students also attend extracurricular academies (known as hagwons) to supplement their learning.

Academic Pressure

One of the biggest challenges Korean students face is academic pressure. The competition to get into top universities is intense, and students are expected to perform well on standardized tests like the CSAT. Many students attend hagwons after school and on weekends to prepare for these exams, which can be exhausting and stressful.

Cultural Expectations

In Korean culture, academic success is highly valued and seen as a path to social mobility. Parents often place a lot of pressure on their children to excel academically, which can lead to a high-stress environment at home. Students may also feel pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations.

Teacher-Student Relationships

In Korean classrooms, there is a strong emphasis on respect for authority figures like teachers. This can create a hierarchical dynamic where students feel discouraged from speaking up or questioning their teachers. It can also make it difficult for teachers to provide individualized attention to students who are struggling.

Language Barriers

Korean is the primary language of instruction in Korean schools, which can be a challenge for students who are not native speakers. While English is also taught, many students struggle with it and may not have access to resources like English-speaking tutors.

Technology in Education

Korean schools have been at the forefront of integrating technology into the classroom. While this has many benefits, such as increased access to educational resources, it can also create distractions and lead to a lack of focus.

Mental Health Concerns

The pressure and stress of the Korean education system can take a toll on students’ mental health. Depression, anxiety, and suicide rates are higher among Korean students than in other countries. The stigma around mental health can make it difficult for students to seek help.

Reform Efforts

In recent years, there have been efforts to reform the Korean education system to make it less stressful and more student-centered. These include changes to the CSAT and efforts to reduce the importance of hagwons. However, these reforms have been met with resistance from some parents and educators.


In conclusion, school is hard in Korean due to a combination of academic pressure, cultural expectations, language barriers, and other factors. While efforts are being made to improve the system, there is still a long way to go in creating an environment that supports student well-being and success.

Is school in Korea hard?

South Korea’s education system is renowned for producing high-achieving students, but it comes at a great cost. Students are expected to devote long hours, with some spending up to 16 hours daily, either at school or at special after-school programs called hagwons.

How stressful is school in Korea?

Students in South Korea face high levels of academic pressure, especially as they prepare for the college entrance exam during their final year of high school in highly competitive academic environments.

What grade would a 16 year old be in Korea?

The typical ages for high school grades are 15-16 for 10th grade, 16-17 for 11th grade, and 17-18 for 12th grade.

Is studying in Korea stressful?

South Korea’s education system is known for being extremely competitive and can lead to negative mental health outcomes for students. A study by Statistics Korea found that 25.2% of middle and high school students aged 13-18 experience depression and anxiety. Additionally, the country has a high rate of student suicide.

How long is school in Korea a day?

High school students typically start their day by studying before classes begin at 8:00 A.M. Each class lasts for 50 minutes and there is a break in the morning and a lunch period of 50 minutes. Afternoon classes usually start around 1:00 P.M. and continue until 4:00 or 4:30, followed by classroom cleaning.

How many hours Korean students sleep?

According to a study conducted on students, those in grades 5-6 reported sleeping for an average of 8.15±1.12 hours, while those in grades 7-9 slept for an average of 8.17±1.20 hours. Students in grades 10-12 slept for an average of 6.87±1.40 hours, as per a report from January 31st, 2011.

Additionally, the Korean education system places a heavy emphasis on rote memorization and standardized testing. This can lead to a lack of critical thinking skills and creativity in students. Some experts argue that this approach may not be preparing students for success in the modern world, which requires more innovation and adaptability.

Another challenge facing Korean students is the lack of diversity in the classroom. Korea is a relatively homogenous society, and many schools do not have a significant number of international students or students from diverse backgrounds. This can limit students’ exposure to different perspectives and experiences, which are essential for developing empathy and understanding.

Furthermore, the cost of education in Korea can be prohibitive for some families. Private schools and hagwons can be expensive, and there is a significant socioeconomic gap in educational opportunities. This can lead to unequal access to resources and opportunities for success.

Overall, while Korean education is known for its rigor and high standards, it also poses significant challenges for students. Efforts to reform the system must take into account these challenges and work towards creating an environment that supports student well-being, diversity, and creativity.

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