The comparison between the UK’s education system and South Korea’s education system are immediately clear once examination of the OECD league table is complete. The UK is in 6th position whilst South Korea is number 1 in the world. During the leagues history the UK has always been ahead of South Korea. However the recent change within South Korea’s political leadership in …. South Korea’s priorities and requirements have implemented change that has benefited the country’s ranking in the world of education. The UK has been on the leading edge of the worldwide crusade for better standards in education, the legal system and the economy. To be number one in the world has been the driving force throughout the history of the United Kingdom. However South Korea is undergoing massive change and development along with its pan Asian counterparts who are now serious competitors in the world’s economy. This essay will compare and contrast the two systems and identify factors which have enabled this dramatic turn of events. II. Complusory education
The history of education within the UK has undergone several reforms especially since the end of the First and Second World War. In 1918 the compulsory school age was 5-14 years old. In 1947, the requirement for educated workforces saw the compulsory leaving age change to 15 and by 1973 until present the school leaving age is 16. These changes were done in the hope that the economy will benefit from educated school leavers. Unfortunately, during the 1960’s the government recognized that the majority of school leavers were underachievers. 41% of the population of the UK enrolled in Higher education (OECD, et al 2010). With 37% of 25-34 year olds completing secondary education. The significant difference between the two countries dramatically effects the standard of educated workforce and the economy.
Alternatively in South Korea, prior to 1945, a majority of the population had not received formal education. By 1960 the number of enrollments in education had increased 96%. Compulsory education between the ages of six and fifteen is free, although there are tuition fees for fifteen to eighteen year olds to supplement government funding. South Korea has the highest tertiary education enrollment in the world, a total of 103 percent (UNESCO; 2010) of the country’s population has successfully completed Higher Education. 97 % of the 25-34 year old age range completed secondary education. (OECD, 2010). This revolution commenced and continued during the Korean War, and political instability.
III. Investment in education
The cost of education for primary and secondary education is free within the UK. Tertiary education costs in present day up to £9,000 per academic year depending on the course and the institute. Funding for Higher Education has become readily available to enable more students to obtain higher education. Throughout history HE has been recognized as elitist especially prior to post-war standards. Most HE applicants in the past have been from educated families in the middle or upper classes. In Contrast Higher Education fees in South Korea are lower being a maximum tuition fee per academic year is £7,600 depending on the course and institution, this factor and the importance of HE amongst cultural belief influences the 103% of students who attend Higher Education.
The Government spends just 4.9% GDP in comparison to South Korea’s 7.6% GDP which is above the OECD’s world average of 5.9%. Teachers in South Korea have a higher income and status, therefore the recruitment process is more competitive and recognized for employing only the best graduates. In contrast teachers in the UK work long hours with less pay and recognition for who they are. The requirements to become a teacher aren’t as stringent as in South Korea. This factor may influence the standard of education the children may receive as well as the attitudes of the teachers. IV. Accountability
The policymakers of the UK enforce the schools standards with inspections from OFSTED, and Independent Schools Councils (ISC) through practical assessment and provides information for the parents and the community. In South Korea the schools are monitored by external organisations created by the Provincial Education Offices. These inspections evaluate the standards and direction of the schools, and influence the awards presented by the Ministry of Education for the top performing schools and teachers, whom receive bonuses for all their efforts and hard work. (Education Finance, 2014) The UK’s diverse cultural backgrounds have made an impact on the control of the education system, and society’s general influences over the children. The political rulings on the children over the parent’s means to discipline and control their children, the lack of traditional nuclear families and the financial implications of such have limited the way in which the education system and families connect and become accountable for the success of the children’s individual needs. The culture in the UK does not stipulate that the citizens attend Higher Education to better the economy therefore there is less pressure on students to attain high grades and education.
The culture of South Korea is a stark contrast to that of the UK. The political reform and focus on the quality of teachers have enforced the countries standpoint and requirement to develop a strong nation. (Jensen, 2012). The families and beliefs of the South Korean society enforces the traditional methods of raising a child. The community raise the child together, therefore the children are rarely raised in single parent homes. The child generally has, the influence of both parents and grandparents to support their needs within education this assists in the enforcement of the Schools accountability to Society. The South Korean Society acknowledges that the harder a child works the better the success rate for the economy. The student’s belief is that the better the university they receive their degree in the better the job they will get and the more money they will earn. “Thus diplomas from the right universities impact careers, marriages and, of course, wages: degree holders earn an average 33 per cent more than high school graduates. That compares with a 66.7 per cent gap for instance in the UK.” (Song, 2013)
In conclusion it is possible for the divide between the UK and South Korea’s education system to be reduced should the UK implement and change the culture of education, and take a leaf out of South Koreas policies by spending more on education, emphasis on the standard of teachers, ensuring accountability amongst schools, students and parents is solidified and potentially focus on providing better funding for teachers and students to learn, receive and achieve a better standard of education, for nationals of the UK instead of constantly changing policies that appear not to make any difference or enhance the economy by reducing the divide between classes.
Education Finance, 2014. System and School Organization , South Korea: NCEE.org. Feinstein, 2003. s.l.:s.n.
Jensen, B., 2012. Catching Up: Learning from the Best School System in East Asian. Melbourne Grattan Institue . Machin, G. &., 2005. s.l.:s.n.
OECD, 2010. s.l.: s.n.
Song, J.-a., 2013. South Korea pays heavy price for education. [Online] Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8254ec70-2efe-11e3-9e14-00144feab7de.html#axzz3Ld3Xvdqu [Accessed 11 December 2014].
West & Pennell , 1999. s.l.:s.n.