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The Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea

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The Republic of Korea

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  1. Coat of arms The Republic of Korea Flag Debbie Wammack Spring 2010 South Korea

  2. Agenda • Fast Facts • Maps • History • Video • South Korea Schooling • What could the USA learn from South Korean schools? • Education Fever • Discussion

  3. Fast Facts • Population: 48.3 million • Capital: Seoul - 9.6 million • Size: 38,321sq miles (slightly larger than Indiana ( • Languages: Korean, English (widely taught) • Religion: Buddhism, Christianity • Life Expectancy: 76 years (men), 83 years (women) • Age Structure: 0-14 years: 16.8% (male 4,278,581/female 3,887,516) 15-64 years: 72.3% (male 17,897,053/female 17,196,840) 65 years and over: 10.8% (male 2,104,589/female 3,144,393) (2009 est.) • Currency: South Korean won • Main Exports: Electronic products, machinery and transport equipment, motor vehicles, steel, ships, textiles • Industry: Electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles • Agriculture: Rice, root crops, barley, vegetables; cattle; fish • Gross National Income: US $21,530 (World Bank, 2008) BBC News – South Korea country profile. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2010, from National Geographic – South Korea facts. (n.d.) . Retrieved March 17, 2010, from

  4. Fast Facts • Natural Resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential • Natural Hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest • Environmental Issues: air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing • Population Growth: 0.266% (2009 est.) • Birth Rate: 8.93 births/1,000 population (2009 est.) • Death Rate: 5.94 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.) • GDP: $1.343 trillion (2009 est.) (country comparison to the world: 14) • GDP Growth Rate: -0.8% (2009 est.) • Population Below Poverty Line: 15% (2003 est.) • Labor Force: 24.37 million (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 25 • 7.2% Agriculture • 25.1% Industry • 67.7% services (2007) CIA - The World Factbook – South Korea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2010, from

  5. South Korea CIA - The World Factbook – South Korea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2010, from

  6. History South Korean veterans mark the anniversary of the Korean War • 1945 - After World War II, Japanese occupation ends with Soviet troops occupying area north of the 38th parallel, and US troops in the south. South Korean veterans mark the anniversary of the Korean War • 1948 - Republic of Korea proclaimed. • 1950 - South declares independence, sparking North Korean invasion. • 1953 - Amistice ends Korean War, which has cost two million lives. • 1950s - South sustained by crucial US military, economic and political support. • 1960 - President SyngmanRee steps down after student protests against electoral fraud. New constitution forms Second Republic, but political freedom remains limited. BBC News – Timeline: South Korea (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2010, from Education in Korea. (February 27, 2009). ewceducation. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from

  7. Coup • 1961 - Military coup puts General Park Chung-hee in power. • 1963 - General Park restores some political freedom and proclaims Third Republic. Major programme of industrial development begins. • 1972 - Martial law. Park increases his powers with constitutional changes. • After secret North-South talks, both sides seek to develop dialogue aimed at unification. • Kwangju massacre: Hundreds died as troops fired on 1980 rally • 1979 - Park assassinated. General Chun Doo-hwan assumes power. • 1980 - Martial law declared after student demonstrations. In the city of Kwangju at least 200 killed by the army, causing resentment that has yet to fade. Fifth republic and new constitution. • 1981 - Chun indirectly elected to a seven year term. Martial law ends, but government continues to have strong powers to prevent dissent. • 1986 - Constitution is changed to allow direct election of the president.

  8. Return to democracy • 1980s - Increasing shift towards high-tech and computer industry. • 1987 - President Chun pushed out of office by student unrest and international pressure in the build-up to the Sixth constitution. Roh Tae-woo succeeds Chun, grants greater degree of political liberalisation and launches anti-corruption drive. • 1988 - Olympic games in Seoul. First free parliamentary elections. • 1991 - North and South Korea join the United Nations. • 1993 - Roh succeeded by Kim Young Sam, a former opponent of the regime and the first civilian president. • 1995 - Corruption and treason charges against Roh Tae-woo and Chun Doo-hwan. • 1996 North Korean submarine runs aground in South, 11 crew found shot dead in apparent mass suicide and 13 killed by South Korean forces during massive search operation. • South Korea admitted to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. • 1998 - Kim Dae-jung sworn in as president and pursues "sunshine policy" of offering unconditional economic and humanitarian aid to North Korea. • South Korea captures North Korean mini-submarine in its waters. Nine crew inside found dead

  9. Landmark summit • 2000 June - Summit in Pyongyang between Kim Jong-il and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. North stops propaganda broadcasts against South. • 2000 August - Border liaison offices re-open at truce village of Panmunjom. • South Korea gives amnesty to more than 3,500 prisoners. • One hundred North Koreans meet their relatives in the South in a highly-charged, emotional reunion. • Kim Dae-jung awarded Nobel Peace Prize. • 2001 - Opening of Incheon International airport, built on tidal land off port of Incheon. • 2002 March - Group of 25 North Koreans defect to South Korea through Spanish embassy in Beijing, highlighting plight of tens of thousands hiding in China after fleeing famine, repression in North.

  10. Naval battle • 2002 June - Battle between South Korean and North Korean naval vessels along their disputed sea border leaves four South Koreans dead and 19 wounded. Thirty North Koreans are thought to have been killed. • Kim Dae-jung: Former president won Nobel Peace Prize • 2002 December - Roh Moo-hyun, from governing Millennium Democratic Party, wins closely-fought presidential elections. • 2003 October - Biggest mass crossing of demilitarised zone since Korean War: Hundreds of South Koreans travel to Pyongyang for opening of gymnasium funded by South's Hyundai conglomerate. • 2004 February - Parliament approves controversial dispatch of 3,000 troops to Iraq.

  11. Impeachment • 2004 March-May - President Roh Moo-hyun suspended after parliament votes to impeach him over breach of election rules and for incompetence. In May the Constitutional Court overturns the move and President Roh is reinstated. • 2004 June - US proposes to cut by a third its troop presence. Opposition raises security fears over the plan. • 2004 August - Yeongi-Kongju area selected as site for new capital, to replace Seoul by 2030. • 2004 September - South Korea admits that its scientists carried out an experiment to enrich uranium in 2000. In November the UN's nuclear watchdog rebukes Seoul but decides not to refer the matter to the Security Council. • 2004 December - Parliament votes to extend the deployment of South Korean troops in Iraq. • 2005 March - Japan restates its claim to a small group of islands whose sovereignty is disputed by Seoul and Tokyo. South Korea says the move seriously damages relations. • 2005 June - Kim Woo-choong, the fugitive former head of Daewoo, returns and is arrested for his role in the industrial giant's $70bn-plus collapse. In May 2006 he is sentenced to 10 years in jail. • 2005 December - South Koreans are shocked by revelations that cloning scientist and national hero Dr Hwang Woo-suk faked landmark research on stem cell research. He goes on trial in June 2006, charged with misusing funding. • 2006 February - South Korea and the US launch talks on a free trade agreement, potentially the largest free trade deal involving the US in Asia.

  12. South Korean at UN helm • 2006 October - Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon is appointed as the UN's new secretary-general. He takes office in January 2007, becoming the first UN chief to disclose his finances publicly. • 2006 November - Government approves one-year extension of military mission in Iraq. • 2006 December - Prosecutors charge five people with spying for North Korea in the largest such case since the political reconciliation of the two Koreas in 2000. • 2007 February - South and North Korea agree to restart high-level talks suspended since July 2006 in wake of North's nuclear test. • Head of the largest South Korean car maker, Hyundai, is jailed for three years for embezzlement. • South Korea agrees with US to assume operational control of its own military forces, in the event of war, from 2012. • 2007 April - South Korea and the US agree on a free-trade deal after 10 months of talks.

  13. Thaw gathers pace • 2007 May - Passenger trains cross the North-South border for the first time in 56 years. • 2007 May - Group of 23 South Korean church workers is taken hostage in Afghanistan. • 2007 October - The presidents of North and South Korea pledge at a summit to seek talks to formally end the Korean war. • 2007 November - Prime ministers from North and South Korea meet for the first time in 15 years. • 2007 December - Lee Myung-bak wins landslide victory in presidential election. • 2008 February - The country's greatest cultural treasure, the Namdaemun Gate, is destroyed by fire. • Thaw stalls • 2008 April - North Korea hits out at new South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, warning that his tough stance could lead to "catastrophic consequences". • President Lee's Grand National Party wins a slim majority in parliament. • 2008 May - Announcement that US beef imports are to be resumed as part of free trade deal sparks weeks of street protests. Seoul blocked most imports of US beef in 2003 because of fears over BSE. • 2008 June - Faced with plummeting approval ratings, President Lee issues public apology for failing to heed public concerns. • 2008 July - First shipment of US beef in five years arrives after Seoul negotiates further safeguards in its import deal with Washington, in response to street protests. • North Korean soldier shoots South Korean woman in the North's Mount Kumgang special tourism area, leading to tensions between the two sides.

  14. Financial crisis • 2008 October - South Korean banks become vulnerable to global credit crisis as result of having taken on high levels of foreign debt. Government announces $130bn financial rescue package to shore up banking system and stabilise markets. • 2008 November - North Korea tells South Korea to halt traffic across the land border from 1 December due to what it says is a policy of "confrontation" from Seoul. • 2009 January - North Korea says it is scrapping all military and political deals with the South over its "hostile intent", as ties worsen. • 2009 February - South Korea's central bank cuts interest rates to a record low, amid forecasts that the economy is likely to suffer its first annual contraction for more than 10 years. • 2009 August - Former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung dies; North Korea sends a senior delegation to Seoul to pay its respects. • In further sign of thaw in relations, North Korea announces easing of restrictions on cross-border traffic, and talks on family reunions - suspended since early 2008 - restart. • 2009 October - North Korea expresses "regret" for unleashing dam water that drowned six campers downstream in South Korea in September. The two sides hold talks aimed at preventing flooding on the Imjin River which spans their militarised border. • 2009 November - South and North Korean warships exchange fire across a disputed sea border. • 2010 January - North Korea accepts an offer of food aid from South Korea, the first such aid in two years. • The two Koreas make no progress in two days of talks about their jointly-run Kaesong industrial estate. • South Korea returns fire after the North fires artillery shells near their disputed sea border.

  15. Education and South Korea • Education in South Korea is largely state-funded, and compulsory between ages six and fourteen. • Believed by some to be the best education system in the world, South Korea benefits from heavy state investment in education, as well as an extremely rigorous school day, particularly for those in high school. • Mathematics, science, Korean, social studies, and English are generally considered to be the most important subjects. • It is widely believed that the government’s desire to invest in “human capital” through concentrating on education has led to the economic success of the nation in recent years, as well as extremely high literacy rates. • South Korea was the first country in the world to provide high-speed internet access from every primary, junior, and high school.

  16. The school year • Two semesters. • 1st begins in the beginning of March and ends in mid-July • 2nd begins in late August and ends in mid-February • Summer vacation from mid-July to late August • Winter vacation from late-December to early February • also take a short vacation from mid-February to March 1st The schedules are generally standardized, however it can vary slightly from region to region.

  17. Literacy Rate in South Korea • definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 97.9% male: 99.2% female: 96.6% (2002) CIA - The World Factbook – South Korea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2010, from,%20South&countryCode=ks&regionCode=eas&#ks

  18. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology • often abbreviated into "the Ministry of Education" is responsible for South Korean education. • Like other ministers, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology is appointed by the president. They are mainly chosen from candidates who have an academic background and often resign in a fairly short term (around one year).

  19. Education Statistics • Education Spending: 4.2% of GDP • Education spending: 15.5% of total government expenditure NationMaster - Korean Education statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2010, from

  20. South Korea - Kindergarten • Kindergarten in Korea is not a publicly administered program. • Parents send their children to private schools: most are taught in Korean, many of those have an English class, and some kindergartens are taught almost entirely in English. • Kindergarten children ages three to five. Most children do not attend "preschool" but are lumped together in a kindergarten class with other children who may be within a three-year age difference.

  21. South Korea - Elementary school • Elementary - grades one to six (age 8 to age 13 in Korean years—7 to 12 in western years). The first six years takes place in Elementary school, or Chodeung-hakgyo. • The curriculum for these schools is nationally standardized, and is centered largely around a basic grounding in Mathematics, the Korean language, Science, Music and Art. • In third grade (age 8), children begin to learn English, usually in a laid-back manner through informal conversation rather than detailed study of grammatical structures. • Although specialized teachers often teach English, students usually remain in the same classroom with the same teacher for this stage of their educational development.

  22. South Korea - Middle School • Middle School, or jung-hakgyosist, three grades (age 13 and finish at age 15). These three grades correspond roughly to grades 7–9 in the North American system. • Children follow a curriculum that consists of twelve major subjects including Mathematics, Korean and English. Unlike in Elementary Schools, teachers are specialists in individual subject areas.

  23. South Korea - High School • Children begin High School, or godeung-hakgyo, from first grade (age 16) to third grade (age 18), and students commonly graduate at age18). • The nature of High School education varies widely between institutions in South Korea. There are both Vocational and Academic high schools, with the majority of students (68%) attending academic schools. • There are also a small number of specialized high schools centered around a particular academic subject such as Science or a language. In academic high schools students usually remain in the same classroom, and are visited by a range of specialist teachers who move from room to room between periods. The curriculum of academic high schools is usually geared towards university entrance exams, which are covered in more detail in the higher education section. • High school is not mandatory, unlike middle school education in Korea. However, according to a 2005 study of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, some 97% of South Korea's young adults do complete high school. This was the highest percentage recorded in any country.

  24. Alternative Education Private schools • The private and public educational sectors are heavily integrated in South Korea. Often students will attend public school, but compliment this with private after-school tuition classes. The private schools that do exist have come under fire for being very independent of the Korean Ministry of Education, and enjoy very little government oversight. Special Needs Schools • The number of what are known as Special Schools in South Korea has expanded rapidly in the last decade or so. Special Schools cater for children with a variety of disabilities, and are state-funded.

  25. Vocational education • Vocational high schools offer programs in five fields: agriculture, technology/engineering, commerce/business, maritime/fishery, and home economics. • In principle, all students in the first year of high school (10th grade) follow a common national curriculum, • In the second and third years (11th and 12th grades) students are offered courses relevant to their specialization. In some programs, students may participate in workplace training through co-operation between schools and local employers. • The government is now piloting Vocational Schools in which workplace training is an important part of the program. • Around half of all vocational high schools are private. Private and public schools operate according to similar rules; for example, they charge the same fees for high school education, with an exemption for poorer families. The number of students in vocational high schools has decreased, from about half of students in 1995 down to about one-quarter today. • To make vocational high schools more attractive, in April 2007 the Korean government changed the name of vocational high schools into professional high schools. With the change of the name the government also facilitated the entry of vocational high school graduates to colleges and universities.

  26. President Obama welcomed South Korean President Lee Myung-bak What could the USA learn from South Korean schools? • South Korea -93% of all students graduate from high school on time. • United States - ¼ of all students, more than 1.2 million individuals each year, fail to graduate. • Once the world leader in secondary-school education, the United States now ranks18th among 36 nations examined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The Embassy of the United States - Policy News - US – South Korea (ROK) Seoul , Korea (n.d.). U.S Department of State. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from

  27. COUNTRY RANKINGS (2002) Percent of 15-year-olds falling below international benchmarks: 1. South Korea           1.42. Japan                      2.23. Finland                     4.44. Canada                   5.05. Australia                  6.26. Austria                     8.27. Britain                       9.48. Ireland                    10.29. Sweden                    10.810. Czech Republic     12.211. New Zealand        12.212. France                    12.613. Switzerland            13.014. Belgium                  14.015. Iceland                   14.016. Hungary                 14.217. Norway                   14.218. United States        16.219. Germany               17.020. Denmark                17.021. Spain                     18.622. Italy                        20.223. Greece                  23.224. Portugal                23.6UNICEF ranks countries on academics - Tuesday, November 26, 2002 Posted: 9:25 PM EST (0225 GMT) Retrieved March 22, 2010, from

  28. OECD (2001) p. 53; OECD (2004a) p. 92; OECD (2007) p. 56.

  29. High School Degree In the U.S. the percentage of 55 to 64 year-olds who eventually get a high school degree, including a G.E.D., is exactly the same as those in the 25 to 34 year-old group, 87%. But South Korea has driven its rate from 37% to 97% for the younger group, the highest percentage of any of the 36 nations studied by the OECD.

  30. South Korea Values Education • Parents in South Korea almost universally make their children's education the family's unquestioned priority. • An experienced secondary-school teacher makes almost 25% more than a comparable American teacher, according to OECD data. • As in all Confucian societies, students are raised to revere teachers. An old saying has it that one should not dare step even on the shadow of a teacher.

  31. National Education Spending • National educational spending as a percentage of South Korea's $1 trillion economy, from both public and private sources, is higher than in the United States and higher than the OECD average.

  32. Educational Cost • As a percentage of the economy, South Korean families spend three times as much as Americans on education — except for college, where Americans spend fractionally more. • In South Korea, parents spend up to $200 billion on private educational institutes.

  33. South Korean’sSocial Pressure for Education • The South Korean formula combines fierce societal pressure, determined parents and students who study nearly round-the-clock. • After a typical eight-hour school day, most students spend their remaining waking hours in private tutoring or reviewing schoolwork.

  34. South Korea Educates All • The South Korean system also is notable for enforcing a national curriculum and for spreading resources far more evenly than does the United States. • Unlike students in poorer U.S. districts, which lack sufficient property tax receipts to fund quality instruction and account for a disproportionate share of dropouts, just about everyone in South Korea receives a decent education.

  35. South Korea Creativity? • Still, the South Korean approach is not without serious flaws, as parents and educators here are quick to note. The emphasis on endless study produces students who perform well on tests but often fall short in creativity. • Classes also are far larger than a typical American high school, with about 40 students in each Ewha classroom.

  36. Education Fever and South Korea

  37. Discussion • Elitism in current South Korean society creates personal ties on the basis of academic attainments and cliques, resulting in their leading of a considerable part of contemporary South Korean politics, economy, society, culture, and education. • In particular, various problems were derived from college examination oriented education. • First, school education became impoverished due to the practice of abnormal school teaching. • Second, excessive competition among students was bolstered by a selective examination way of the relative standard. • Third, unitary thinking was fostered owing to the objective evaluation of examination methods. • Fourth, social disharmony between the classes was promoted on account of excessive private tutoring. • Fifth, students’ personalities were ignored because of the uniformity of school education. • Finally, repeaters who take the college entrance examinations after one or more failures were mass-produced.

  38. References BBC News – South Korea country profile. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2010, from BBC News – South Korea education’s success. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2010, from BBC News – Timeline: South Korea (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2010, from CIA - The World Factbook – South Korea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2010, from,%20South&countryCode=ks&regionCode=eas&#ks CIA - The World Factbook – South Korea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2010, from Education in Korea. (February 27, 2009). ewceducation. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from The Embassy of the United States - Policy News - US – South Korea (ROK) Seoul , Korea (n.d.). U.S Department of State. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from Foreign Country Land Mass Compared to United States. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2010, from Kim, G.J. (2005, July 5). Higher educational reform in South Korea: Policy responses to a changing world – Higher Educational Seminar Moscow. Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development: Higher Education Republic of Korea. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from National Geographic – South Korea facts. (n.d.) . Retrieved March 17, 2010, from NationMaster - Korean Education statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2010, from  OECD (2001): Knowledge and Skills for Life. First Results from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2000. Parish: OECD, p. 53. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from OECD (2004a): Learning for Tomorrow's World. First Results from PISA 2003. Paris: OECD, p. 92. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from OECD (2007): Science Competencies for Tomorrow's World: Results from PISA 2006. Paris: OECD, p. 56. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from UNICEF ranks countries on academics - Tuesday, November 26, 2002 Posted: 9:25 PM EST (0225 GMT) Retrieved March 22, 2010, from