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Diagram of the education system

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Key

  • Diagram of education system in country language


  • General methodological notes for ISCED diagrams


  • Education system in Korea

    Korea
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2018)
  • Early childhood and care (ECEC) is particularly well developed in Korea. Korea's catching-up in terms of enrolment and funding has been remarkable.
  • Repeating years in upper secondary education are rare in Korea, and a large majority of students go on to enrol in tertiary education.
  • General programmes are more conventional option for upper secondary students in Korea than vocational programmes.
  • Korea has the highest share of tertiary-educated adults of all OECD countries, mostly at bachelor's level. In addition, Korea exhibits a high intergenerational mobility in tertiary education.
  • Despite increasing levels of public spending in education, annual average tuition fees are still above the OECD average in Korea, both in public and private institutions.
  • The gender gap in the labour market in terms of wages and employment perspectives persists in Korea and remains a challenge, as in most OECD countries.
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    The following list displays indicators for which your selected country shows the highest and lowest values among countries. The list can be sorted by level of education or by age group. All rankings are calculated including available data from OECD and partner countries. Find out more about the methodology here.

    Show indicators for which your country ranks among the top or bottom: Sort by:

    Educational outcomes

    The level of upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (98 %, rank 1/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of below upper secondary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2 %, rank 45/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (28.3 %, rank 39/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-64 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (47.7 %, rank 5/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The level of tertiary attainment among 25-34 year-olds is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (69.8 %, rank 1/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 year-olds who have attained a general degree at the upper secondary or post-secondary level is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (39.9 %, rank 2/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of young people expected to graduate from vocational programmes in upper secondary education in Korea is comparatively low (16.6 %, rank 29/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from upper secondary education during their lifetimes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (94.3 %, rank 6/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of today's young people expected to graduate from an upper secondary general programme is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (77.7 %, rank 3/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-34 year-old men who have attained tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (65.1 %, rank 1/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-34 year-old women who have attained tertiary education is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (74.9 %, rank 1/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Korea has one of the highest percentages of 25-64 year-olds whose highest education level is a short-cycle tertiary education degree. (13.5 %, rank 7/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of 25-64 year-olds who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the highest among countries with available data. (34.2 %, rank 1/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of female graduates from upper secondary general programmes is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (49.1 %, rank 39/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of first-time graduates in vocational programmes at upper secondary level is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17.7 %, rank 29/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The proportion of upper secondary students enrolled in vocational or pre-vocational programmes is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (17.5 %, rank 38/42 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of three-year-olds in early childhood education in Korea is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (96.7 %, rank 6/43 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of female students entering doctorate or equivalent programmes in Korea is one of the smallest compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (40.4 %, rank 34/40 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 20-24 year-olds in Korea is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (49.8 %, rank 9/40 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 25-29 year-olds in Korea is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (9.1 %, rank 34/40 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the average age of new entrants into doctoral programmes is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (37.9 Years, rank 1/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Intergenerational mobility

    The share of 25-64 year-old adults without upper secondary education among those whose parents have also not attained upper secondary education is comparatively low in Korea. (28.3 %, rank 19/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old adults with tertiary education among those whose parents have not attained upper secondary education is comparatively high in Korea. (27.4 %, rank 6/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old adults without upper secondary education among those for whom at least one parent has attained tertiary education is comparatively low in Korea. (1.8 %, rank 25/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old adults with tertiary education among those for whom at least one parent has also attained tertiary education is comparatively high in Korea. (74.9 %, rank 3/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Korea, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of business, administration and law is relatively low. (14.1 %, rank 34/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is relatively low. (2.3 %, rank 30/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively high. (23 %, rank 4/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in of the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (45.1 %, rank 29/33 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in of the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (21.5 %, rank 24/33 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in of the field of health and welfare is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (67.6 %, rank 29/33 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of new female entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Korea is relatively low. (10.4 %, rank 32/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of new male entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics ans statistics in Korea is relatively low. (14.3 %, rank 28/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of new male entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Korea is relatively high. (34 %, rank 1/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Student mobility

    Korea has one of the smallest proportion of international or foreign students enrolled in tertiary education among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.9 %, rank 35/42 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Classroom environment

    The number of pupils per teacher in pre-primary schools is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8.63 Ratio, rank 13/21 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10109 USD Equivalent, rank 27/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11047 USD Equivalent, rank 7/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12202 USD Equivalent, rank 9/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student for core and ancillary services, from primary to below-tertiary institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11688 USD Equivalent, rank 6/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student on research and development in tertiary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (1968 USD Equivalent, rank 26/34 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per student for core, ancillary services and research and development, from tertiary institutions is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10109 USD Equivalent, rank 27/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Korea, expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is one of the highest among OECD countries and partner economies. (5.8 %, rank 10/37 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, expenditure on secondary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (2.3 %, rank 10/37 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, expenditure on tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (1.8 %, rank 7/37 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, government expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively low. (0.7 %, rank 30/39 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, private expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of GDP on primary to tertiary education from final source of funds is relatively high. (1.7 %, rank 6/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Public and private expenditure in education

    The share of private expenditure on all levels below tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12.9 %, rank 10/35 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (63.9 %, rank 5/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively low. (71.1 %, rank 31/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    The change between 2005 and 2012 in private expenditure on tertiary educational institutions is one of the smallest compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (88 Index, rank 20/27 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Korea has one of the largest shares of private expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (28.9 %, rank 6/36 , 2015) Download Indicator

    In Korea, total public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively high. (14 %, rank 7/39 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Change in public expenditure (including subsidies to households) on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education as a percentage of total public expenditure between 2011 and 2015 in Korea is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (97 Index, rank 11/20 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of hours per year primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively small in Korea. (671 Hours, rank 24/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year lower secondary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively small in Korea. (533 Hours, rank 30/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year upper secondary teachers spend teaching general programmes in public institutions is comparatively small in Korea. (551 Hours, rank 26/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The number of days of instruction in a school year in pre-primary school is especially small. (180 Days, rank 22/28 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The number of hours per year pre-primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively small in Korea. (543 Hours, rank 25/26 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in upper secondary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (51.2 %, rank 34/40 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (34.9 %, rank 34/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (61.7 %, rank 26/31 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially high. (14.4 %, rank 8/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers aged between 30 and 49 is especially high. (62.1 %, rank 7/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (23.5 %, rank 30/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (51952 USD Equivalent, rank 9/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a pre-primary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (50383 USD Equivalent, rank 4/26 , 2017) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a primary teacher with minimum qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53405 USD Equivalent, rank 7/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Salaries of pre-primary teachers with minimum training after 10 years of experience are especially high. (43006 USD Equivalent, rank 7/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Salaries of pre-primary teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially high. (84842 USD Equivalent, rank 2/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The ratio of pre-primary teachers' salaries at the top of scale to their starting salary is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.79 Ratio, rank 1/27 , 2017) Download Indicator

    It takes lower secondary teachers longer to progress through the salary scale in Korea compared to other OECD and partner countries. (37 Years, rank 3/24 , 2017) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a lower secondary teacher with typical qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53465 USD Equivalent, rank 8/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a pre-primary teacher with typical qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53405 USD Equivalent, rank 5/26 , 2017) Download Indicator

    After 15 years of experience, a primary teacher with typical qualification can expect to have one of the highest salaries among OECD and partner countries with available data. (53405 USD Equivalent, rank 8/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education is comparatively low. (77.4 %, rank 41/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively high. (65.8 %, rank 8/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-34 year-olds with below upper secondary education is comparatively low. (4.4 %, rank 38/42 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds without upper secondary education is comparatively low. (2.8 %, rank 39/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (3.1 %, rank 38/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The unemployment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a general upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (3.1 %, rank 36/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-old men with tertiary education is compartively low in Korea. (81.3 %, rank 41/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education is compartively low in Korea. (74.9 %, rank 40/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-olds with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is compartively low in Korea. (64.6 %, rank 39/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-34 year-old women with tertiary education is compartively low in Korea. (68.7 %, rank 39/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    Compared with other OECD and partner countries, the earnings of adults without an upper secondary education are relatively low compared to those of adults with an upper secondary or a post-secondary non-tertiary education. (74 Index, rank 32/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds without an upper secondary education with income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (70 %, rank 32/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (65.1 %, rank 36/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (25-64 year-olds with income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (67.4 %, rank 37/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full- and part-time workers without upper secondary education are comparatively low. (72 Index, rank 29/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of 25-64 year-old full- and part-time workers with a short cycle tertiary education are comparatively low. (116 Index, rank 18/27 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Governance

    The percentage of decisions taken at the school level of for public lower secondary education is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries. (14.6 %, rank 25/34 , 2017) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • Adults without tertiary-educated parents face greater challenges to attain tertiary level themselves: Only 21% do compared to 68% among those with at least one tertiary-educated parent.
    • While there is little difference on average between the level of tertiary attainment among native-born and foreign-born adults, there are large variations across countries. In Mexico the tertiary attainment of foreign-born adults is more than double that of native-born. In contrast, native-born adults in Slovenia are almost twice more likely to have attained tertiary education than their foreign-born peers.
    • The gender gap favors girls in education but men in the labour market: 50% of 25-34 year-old women attained tertiary education in 2017 compared to 38% of men. However the employment rate of tertiary-educated young women is about 9 percentage points less than for men and they earn only 74% as much as men with similar educational attainment on average across OECD countries.
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    • In 2015, OECD countries spent on average around 5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on educational institutions from primary to tertiary levels , with variations across countries from 3.1% in the Russian Federation to 6.4% in Norway.
    • On average, OECD countries spend USD 10 391 a year on educational institutions to educate each student from primary to tertiary education. This represents about USD 8 600 per student at primary level, USD 9 900 at secondary level and USD 15 500 at tertiary level.
    • Primary and secondary education accounts for almost 70% of total expenditure on primary to tertiary educational institutions, or around 3.5% of GDP, on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2015, public funding represented more than 80% of total expenditure on primary to tertiary educational institutions across the OECD countries, varying from 62% in Colombia to 99% in Norway. However only two thirds of total expenditure is financed through public sources on tertiary institutions on average across OECD countries.
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    • In most countries, teachers above 50 years of age make up more than a third of the teaching force.
    • While the teaching profession is dominated by women, the share of female teachers decreases with the level of education taught: almost all teachers at the pre-primary level are women; however they make up less than half of the teaching force at tertiary level.
    • On average across OECD countries, statutory salaries of teachers at the top of their salary scales (and maximum qualifications) are between 77% and 81% higher than starting salaries (with minimum qualifications).
    • Teachers’ actual salaries at pre-primary, primary and general secondary levels of education are 82% to 96% of earnings of tertiary-educated workers on average across OECD countries.
    • While the average actual salary of primary and secondary female teachers is equal to or higher than the average earnings of full-time, tertiary-educated working women, primary and secondary male teachers earn between 77% and 88% of the average earnings of full-time, tertiary-educated working men.
    • Based on official regulations, public school teachers in OECD countries and economies are required to teach on average 1 030 hours per year at pre-primary level, 771 hours at primary level, 693 hours at lower secondary level (general programmes) and 646 hours at upper secondary level (general programmes).
    • On average across OECD countries, there are 15 students per teacher in primary education, 13 students per teacher in secondary education and 15 students per teacher in tertiary education.
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    • On average across OECD countries, 75% of children aged 3 are enrolled in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).
    • At age 4, on average across OECD countries, almost 88% of children are enrolled in pre-primary education.
    • Annual expenditure per child in early childhood development programmes was greater than in pre-primary education in 2015 on average across OECD countries.
    • Public funds represent a higher share of total expenditure at pre-primary level than on early childhood development programmes.
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    • The share of first-time upper secondary graduates with a vocational qualification varied from 6% in Canada to 78% in Austria in 2016 with an average of 41% across OECD countries.
    • In 2016, across OECD countries, teaching hours for upper secondary, general programmes vary greatly from 405 hours in Denmark to 1064 hours in Chile with an average of 655 hours.
    • In 2016, the ratio of students to teaching staff in public upper secondary educational institutions across OECD countries varies from 9 in Portugal to 22 in Mexico with an average of 13 across OECD countries.
    • The employment rate for adults with upper secondary education is 18 percentage points higher than for those without. The employment advantage varies from 6 percentage points in Mexico to more than 30 percentage points in the Czech and Slovak Republics.
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    • Between 2007 and 2017, the share of tertiary-educated young adults increased by 10 percentage points on average across OECD countries.
    • In 2015, OECD countries spent on average around 1.5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on tertiary educational institutions, ranging from 0.5% in Luxembourg to 2.6% in the United States.
    • On average in OECD countries, 59% of young adults will enter a bachelor’s degree or equivalent programme in their lifetime while 24% are expected to enter a master’s or equivalent programme.
    • While there are large variations across countries, international and foreign students account for 6% of total enrolment in tertiary programmes and reach more than a quarter of enrolments at doctoral level on average across OECD countries.
    • Tertiary-educated adults are more likely to be employed and earn about 55% more than those with upper secondary education on average across OECD countries.
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    Key
    Country Reviews for Korea

    Note: These values should be interpreted with care since they are influenced by countries' specific contexts and trade-offs. In education, there is often no simple most- or least-efficient model. For instance, the share of private expenditure in education must be read against other measures designed to mitigate inequities, such as loans and grants; longer learning time is an opportunity to convey more and better content to students, but may hinder investments in other important areas. If you want further information on the nature of different variables, please take the time to read the analysis and contextual information, available at the website for each publication.
    All rankings for individual variables are compiled on the basis of OECD and G20 countries for which data are available. The OECD average includes only OECD countries which are listed here: http://www.oecd.org/about/membersandpartners/

    *TALIS averages are based on all countries participating in the TALIS survey, including partner countries and economies. This explains the difference between the OECD average and the TALIS average. Data from the TALIS survey and Education at a Glance (EAG) may differ. See Annex E of the TALIS technical report and Annex 3 of EAG 2017 for more details about the data collections.

    For additional notes, please refer to annexes in the list of links below the introductory country profile text.