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Diagram of the education system

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  • Diagram of education system in country language


  • General methodological notes for ISCED diagrams


  • Education system in Korea

    Korea
    Overview of the education system (EAG 2019)
  • Students enter tertiary education at a younger age than the average for OECD countries, with the majority of students enrolling in private institutions and more than one-third majoring in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Nearly all young adults in Korea have an upper secondary qualification. Furthermore, Korea has the highest share of young adults with tertiary qualification among OECD countries, with above-average employment rate for those with a tertiary education.
  • Korea spends more on education than the OECD average at primary to tertiary levels of education. Private expenditure is significantly higher than public expenditure at tertiary level.
  • Enrolment rates in early childhood and care are high, with the majority of children enrolled in private institutions.
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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

    In Korea, 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. (30.7 %, rank 1/46 , 2018) 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. (17.6 %, rank 29/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The average age of upper secondary graduates from vocational programmes in Korea is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (18.1 Years, rank 32/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Attainment by gender

    In Korea, the share of 25-64 year-old men who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the largest among countries with available data. (33 %, rank 2/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old women who attained a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is one of the largest among countries with available data. (28.3 %, rank 5/46 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Participation in education

    The proportion of 25-64 years-old adults with below upper secondary education participating in formal education is low in Korea. (0.8 %, rank 23/24 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of 25-64 years-old adults with tertiary education participating in formal education is low in Korea. (7 %, rank 29/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Among adults (25-64 years-old) with below upper secondary education, a low proportion participate in non-formal education. (20.6 %, rank 24/33 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Among adults (25-64 years-old) with tertiary education, a high participate in non-formal education. (69.7 %, rank 9/36 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in job-related non-formal education sponsored by the employer is low in Korea, compared to other countries with available data. (58.8 %, rank 32/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in job-related non-formal education not sponsored by the employer is high in Korea, compared to other countries with available data. (17.9 %, rank 3/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Participation rate of 25-64 year-olds in not job-related non-formal education is high in Korea, compared to other countries with available data. (23.4 %, rank 4/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of 25-64 year-old women participating in job-related non-formal education sponsored by the employer is small. (44.9 %, rank 33/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of female students entering doctoral or equivalent programmes in Korea is one of the smallest compared to other OECD countries and partner economies. (41.4 %, rank 35/40 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of 25-64 year-old who participate in formal education is relatively low. (1.7 %, rank 35/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The enrolment rate of 40-64 year-olds in Korea is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (0.6 %, rank 30/39 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of tertiary students enrolled in private institutions is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (80.3 %, rank 6/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation expectancy

    The percentage of young people expected to graduate from vocational programmes in upper secondary education during their lifetimes in Korea is comparatively low (16.7 %, rank 29/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Excluding mobile students, Korea has one of the highest percentages of young people expected to complete a doctorate or an equivalent education during their lifetime. (1.6 %, rank 6/29 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by gender

    The percentage of female graduates from upper secondary general programmes is one of the lowest among OECD countries and partner economies with available data. (47.7 %, rank 43/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively low. (35.6 %, rank 42/43 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of business, administration and law is relatively low. (27.7 %, rank 40/41 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of female doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is relatively low. (14.4 %, rank 42/42 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Graduation by field of education

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of arts and humanities is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (16 %, rank 4/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.6 %, rank 42/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of business, administration and law is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (15.1 %, rank 44/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of tertiary graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (20.3 %, rank 4/44 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of sciences, journalism and information in Korea is relatively small. (4.8 %, rank 41/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Korea is relatively small. (13.3 %, rank 39/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of doctoral graduates in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Korea is relatively large. (24.4 %, rank 3/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of health and welfare is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.3 %, rank 28/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the proportion of upper secondary vocational graduates in the field of services is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.1 %, rank 31/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Fields of education

    In Korea, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is relatively low. (5.4 %, rank 33/35 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of new entrants to tertiary education in the field of business, administration and law is relatively low. (13.6 %, rank 35/35 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female who enter tertiary education in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (62.3 %, rank 29/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of social sciences, journalism and information in Korea is relatively low. (5.7 %, rank 34/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of national tertiary students enrolled in the field of business, administration and law in Korea is relatively low. (14.3 %, rank 35/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of female among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is relatively small. (36.8 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of female among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of information and communication technologies is relatively small. (15.3 %, rank 29/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of female among new entrants to doctoral programmes enrolled in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction in Korea is relatively small. (17.9 %, rank 32/34 , 2017) 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. (2.3 %, rank 37/46 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, international students from Asia are most represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (91.4 %, rank 2/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, international students from Europe are least represented among all international students, compared to other OECD and partner countries with available data. (1.9 %, rank 44/45 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Student mobility by field of education

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of arts and humanities in Korea is relatively high. (20.4 %, rank 4/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of social sciences, journalism and information in Korea is relatively high. (14.2 %, rank 9/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of business, administration and law in Korea is relatively high. (30.1 %, rank 9/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertairy students enrolled in the field of natural sciences, mathematics and statistics in Korea is relatively low. (3 %, rank 30/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of international tertiary students enrolled in the field of health and welfare in Korea is relatively low. (4.5 %, rank 34/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of international and foreign students among all students in the field of education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with avaialble data. (0.9 %, rank 33/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of international and foreign students among all students in the field of arts and humanities is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with avaialble data. (2.8 %, rank 32/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of international and foreign students among all students in the field of Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with avaialble data. (1.3 %, rank 34/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of international and foreign students among all students in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with avaialble data. (1.4 %, rank 33/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of international and foreign students among all students in the field of health and welfare is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with avaialble data. (0.8 %, rank 33/37 , 2017) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the percentage of international doctoral graduates in the field of social sciences, journalism and information is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (5.5 %, rank 28/33 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Organisation of the education system

    In Korea, the intended instruction time for lower secondary students (in hours per year) is one of the shortest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (842 Hours, rank 25/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Korea, total intended instruction time for lower secondary students is among the shortest compared to other countries with available data. (2525 Hours, rank 26/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Korea, total intended instruction time for primary and lower secondary students (in hours per year) is among the shortest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (6453 Hours, rank 26/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Korea, compulsory instruction time for primary students, in hours per year, is one of the shortest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (655 Hours, rank 31/36 , 2019) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the intended instruction time for primary students, in hours per year, is one of the shortest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (655 Hours, rank 28/29 , 2019) Download Indicator

    Classes in lower secondary public institutions are comparatively large in Korea. (28 Students, rank 6/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Classes in lower secondary private institutions are comparatively large in Korea. (27 Students, rank 3/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure per student

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (10486 USD Equivalent, rank 27/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per primary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (11029 USD Equivalent, rank 8/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per secondary student is one of the highest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (12370 USD Equivalent, rank 8/35 , 2016) 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. (11762 USD Equivalent, rank 6/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Annual expenditure per tertiary student is one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (8385 USD Equivalent, rank 23/32 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the total expenditure on educational institutions per full-time equivalent student in primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary, is relatively high. (11762 USD Equivalent, rank 6/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Expenditure in education and national wealth

    In Korea, expenditure on tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of GDP is comparatively high. (1.7 %, rank 8/35 , 2016) 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. (1.6 %, rank 7/35 , 2016) 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. (13.8 %, rank 8/34 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of private expenditure on tertiary education is one of the largest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (62.4 %, rank 5/35 , 2016) 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. (29.5 %, rank 6/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, total public expenditure on primary through tertiary educational institutions as a percentage of total public expenditure is comparatively high. (12.9 %, rank 7/38 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, international expenditure on educational institutions as a percentage of total expenditure on tertiary education is relatively low. (0 %, rank 25/30 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for tertiary education is comparatively small. (37.6 %, rank 31/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the share of public expenditure on educational institutions, for primary to tertiary education is comparatively small. (70.5 %, rank 30/35 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Total public expenditure on education as a percentage of total government expenditure, for primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is relatively high in Korea compared to OECD and partner countries with available data. (10 %, rank 6/39 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Teachers

    The number of hours per year pre-primary teachers spend teaching in public institutions is comparatively low in Korea. (789 Hours, rank 23/26 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Who the teachers are

    The share of women among teaching staff in short-cycle tertiary education is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (44.8 %, rank 15/20 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff in tertiary education (bachelor's, master's, doctorate or equivalent education) is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (32.6 %, rank 26/27 , 2017) 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. (35.1 %, rank 34/36 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The share of women among teaching staff is one of the smallest among OECD and partner countries with available data. (61.8 %, rank 28/32 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers younger than 30 is especially high. (13.7 %, rank 9/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (14.9 %, rank 34/35 , 2017) Download Indicator

    The percentage of primary to upper secondary teachers older than 50 is especially low. (23.7 %, rank 30/34 , 2017) 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. (55618 USD Equivalent, rank 8/33 , 2018) 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. (57242 USD Equivalent, rank 9/33 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Teachers' salaries progression

    The salary progression from the start to the top of the salary scale for a lower secondary school teacher is among the most rewarding among OECD and partner countries with available data. (2.8 Ratio, rank 1/34 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Salaries of primary school teachers with minimum training at the top of scale are especially high. (90911 USD Equivalent, rank 2/34 , 2018) 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 3/25 , 2018) Download Indicator

    In lower secondary education, the salary ratio of teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of the salary scale to those with minimum training and starting salaries is comparatively high. (2.85 Ratio, rank 3/34 , 2017) Download Indicator

    Employment and educational attainment

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a short-cycle tertiary education degree is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (77 %, rank 33/38 , 2018) Download Indicator

    The employment rate among 25-64 year-olds with a bachelor's or equivalent tertiary education degree is low compared to other OECD and partner countries. (76.7 %, rank 39/44 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Unemployment and educational attainment

    The inactivity rate of 25-34 years-old adults with tertiary education is high in Korea. (18.7 %, rank 3/43 , 2018) Download Indicator

    Earnings and educational attainment

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 with upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education is comparatively low. (63.6 %, rank 26/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 35 to 44 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (40.7 %, rank 26/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of male full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (50.2 %, rank 25/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The proportion of female full-time earners among all earners aged 55 to 64 with tertiary education is comparatively low. (27.7 %, rank 25/28 , 2016) Download Indicator

    The difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with tertiary education and those with upper secondary education is quite low. (131 Index, rank 33/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds without an upper secondary education with income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (71.2 %, rank 31/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Earnings of women as a percentage of men's earnings (among 25-64 year-olds with upper secondary education and income from employment) are one of the lowest among countries with available data. (66.1 %, rank 35/37 , 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. (69.2 %, rank 37/37 , 2016) Download Indicator

    In Korea, the proportional difference in earnings between 25-64 year-old men with a short-cycle tertiary education degree and those with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education is low. (108 Index, rank 24/29 , 2016) Download Indicator

    Social outcomes

    Weekly working hours among employed 25-64 year-olds with below upper secondary education are long in Korea compared to other OECD countries. (43.5 Hours/week, rank 3/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Weekly working hours among employed 25-64 year-olds with tertiary education are long in Korea compared to other OECD countries. (42.6 Hours/week, rank 3/28 , 2015) Download Indicator

    Among employed 25-64 year-olds with below upper secondary education, a large share have high flexibility of working hours. (28.7 %, rank 8/28 , 2015) Download Indicator


    The data table will display up to six selected countries.
    General findings
    • In 2018, 44% of 25-34 year-olds held a tertiary degree, compared to 35% in 2008, on average across OECD countries.
    • Tertiary-educated adults also reap higher earnings, although this varies by field of study. Their advantage increases with age too: 25-34 year-olds with tertiary education earn 38% more than their peers with upper secondary education while 45-54 year-olds earn 70% more.
    • While engineering, manufacturing and construction, and information and communication technologies are two fields most commonly associated with the best labour market outcomes, only 14% of graduates earned a degree in the former and 4% earned a degree in the latter in 2017.
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    • Although graduation from upper secondary education increased by 6 percentage points between 2005 and 2017, 15% of 25-34 year-olds did not attain upper secondary education in 2018, on average across OECD countries.
    • In some countries, vocational programmes are prominent at the upper secondary level. On average across OECD countries, 40% of first-time upper secondary graduates earned a vocational qualification in 2017; in Austria, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, more than 66% of this population did.
    • At the lower secondary level, the average class shrank by 6% while teachers' statutory salaries increased by 8% between 2005 and 2017, on average across OECD countries.
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    • In 2017, more than one in three children under the age of three were enrolled in early childhood education and care services, on average across OECD countries - an increase of 7 percentage points compared to 2010.
    • Between the age of 3 to 5, on average across OECD countries, 87% of children are enrolled in pre-primary and primary education.
    • Annual expenditure per child in early childhood development programmes was greater than in pre-primary education in 2016 on average across OECD countries. However, as a share of GDP, expenditure on early childhood development is lower.
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    • In 2016, expenditure per tertiary student amounted to USD 15 556, approximately one-third of which was devoted to research and development.
    • Private sources financed more than 30% of the expenditure, on average, at the tertiary level compared to 10% at primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level.
    • OECD countries spent an average of 3.5% of GDP on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary institutions in 2016, and public expenditure at this level increased by 18% since 2005.
    Visualisations
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    • About 10% of primary and secondary teachers are under the age of 30, on average across OECD countries.
    • 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.
    • Salaries tend to increase with the level of education taught, but teachers' earnings remain between 78% and 93% of the earnings of other tertiary-educated adults.
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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 2019 for more details about the data collections.

    B-S-J-Z (China) refers to the four PISA-participating provinces/municipalities of the People's Republic of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

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