This page has information and articles on Korea and on educational trends in Korea for U.S. schools and educational institutions.

Korea Times Article: Recklessly Recruiting Chinese Studnets

This article looks at the local (Korean) perspective of excessive international student recruitment and its impact.

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Decrease in Korean Students Studying Overseas

This article in the Korea Herald talks about the fall in the number of Korean students studying abroad.  This is the third straight year that there has been a decrease in overseas Korean students, consistent with the falling Open Doors numbers as well.

English Article:  Overseas Korean students decrease for third straight year (Korea Herald)

Korean Article: 한국인 해외유학 3년째 감소

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KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) Ranked Number 2 in Asia

Korean Universities are moving up in the rankings.  Check out this article from the Chosun Ilbo discussing KAIST rising to number two in Asia, the highest position every for a Korean University since the rankings were compiled.

KAIST Soars to 2nd Place in Asian Rankings

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology came second in the 2014 Asian University Rankings compiled by Quacquarelli Symonds and the Chosun Ilbo.

This is the highest placement ever achieved by a Korean university since the rankings were compiled for the first time in 2009.

The National University of Singapore topped the list, and Korea’s Seoul National University came fourth.

Other Korean universities in the top 20 are Pohang University of Science and Technology in ninth, Yonsei in 16th, Sungkyunkwan in 17th and Korea in 18th.

Sungkyunkwan was newly added this year to five universities last year. In 2009, three universities were in the top 20.

Students at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology work at a robot laboratory. /Courtesy of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Students at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology work at a robot laboratory. /Courtesy of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

In its sixth year, the Asian University Rankings evaluated 491 universities in 17 countries.

Korea’s technology and engineering-centered universities performed strongly this year. KAIST was ranked seventh in 2012 and sixth in 2013 but this year overtook Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to become Asia’s best technological university.

SNU has been in fourth place for three years in a row.



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Chosun Ilbo Article: Koreans Send Fewer Children Abroad to Study

This article from the Chosun Ilbo talks about the decline in the number of school-aged students studying abroad.  It cites economic conditions, the difficulties in readjusting to Korean life, and the fact that education abroad no longer guarantees a good job in Korea upon return.


Koreans Send Fewer Children Abroad to Study
The number of Korean schoolchildren studying abroad has halved for the first time in six years. According to the Korea Educational Development Institute on Thursday, the number of Korean schoolchildren studying abroad rose from 4,397 in 2000 to peak at 29,511 in 2006 and started to decline beginning with the global financial crisis in 2008. The number fell to 14,340 in 2012, marking a 51.4 percent drop in six years.

According to statistics compiled by the Education Ministry and KEDI, the figure includes those who go overseas for one or two years to study even if they are not registered for regular academic courses. Students who move overseas due to immigration or because of their parent’s jobs were not included in the tally.

The number of elementary schoolchildren who study abroad, which accounted for the largest share of the group, rose to 13,814 in 2006, but fell to 6,061 in 2012. The number of junior high school students in this category fell from 9,246 in 2006 to 4,977 in 2012, while the number of high school students fell from 6,451 to 3,302. Experts cited the decline to the ongoing economic slump and a growing awareness among parents that studying overseas no longer translates into a leg up when it comes to landing good jobs in Korea.

One consultant with a company that helps parents send their kids abroad for study said, “In the past, office workers were enthusiastic about saving up to send their children to study abroad in order to get them admitted to a prestigious university later in Korea using privileges in enrollment for foreign-educated applicants and to guarantee them good jobs, but nowadays, only wealthy businesspeople and professionals send their kids overseas.”

H added, “Sending young kids to study abroad often makes it harder for them to adjust to Korean schools later, and parents know that speaking English well is no longer a plus in getting good jobs.” / Apr. 04, 2014 12:20 KST
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The College Board Announces a Redesign of the SAT

This has been hitting education news across social media and news outlets.  The College Boards is aiming for a redesigned SAT to take effect in the spring of 2016.  We will keep an eye on this story and post any developments.

Here is the announcement from The College Board:


The College Board Announces Bold Plans to Expand Access to Opportunity; Redesign of the SAT

College Board and Khan Academy partner to provide free SAT test preparation for the world


AUSTIN, TX — College Board President David Coleman today laid out the organization’s plans to move beyond delivering assessments to delivering opportunity — announcing initiatives designed to be used in concert with assessments to propel students toward college success. As part of those initiatives he presented changes to the SAT® exam. Coleman was joined by students, community leaders and College Board members at the announcement event in Austin, Texas.

“What this country needs is not more tests, but more opportunities,” said Coleman. “The real news today is not just the redesigned SAT, but the College Board’s renewed commitment to delivering opportunity.”

Citing input from College Board members in the K–12 and higher education communities, as well as students and parents, Coleman outlined two bold new actions the organization would take to deliver opportunities to students.

The College Board’s first action expands the organization’s recent outreach to college-ready, low-income students to provide them with customized, targeted support in the college application process. Coleman announced that every income-eligible student who takes the SAT will directly receive four fee waivers to apply to college, removing a cost barrier faced especially by low- and middle-income students. This news builds on the College Board’s substantial opportunity efforts to improve the academic preparation of students by ensuring that those with demonstrated potential to succeed in the Advanced Placement Program® have access to those classes.

“We can cut through so much red tape and hesitation by giving students the admission fee waivers they need, information they understand and the encouragement they need to apply more broadly,” said Coleman. “This is only possible through the support and generosity of our member colleges.”

The College Board’s second announcement directly confronts one of the greatest inequities around college entrance exams, namely the culture and practice of high-priced test preparation. Coleman revealed that the College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to provide the world with free test preparation materials for the redesigned SAT. College Board and Khan Academy will build this material together for launch in spring 2015. This means for the first time ever, all students who want to take the SAT will be able to prepare for the exam with sophisticated, interactive software that gives students deep practice and helps them diagnose their gaps at absolutely no cost. In the meantime, students who will take the current SAT can now go to Khan Academy to work through hundreds of previously unreleased practice problems from actual SAT exams, accompanied by more than 200 videos that show how to solve the problems step-by-step.

“For too long, there’s been a well-known imbalance between students who could afford test-prep courses and those who couldn’t,” said Sal Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy. “We’re thrilled to collaborate closely with the College Board to level the playing field by making truly world-class test-prep materials freely available to all students.”

As a critical component of the organization’s robust initiatives to deliver equal opportunity, the College Board is redesigning the SAT to focus on the few things that evidence show matter most for college and career readiness.

Of the redesigned exam Coleman said, “We will honor the qualities which have made the SAT excellent. We will build on the remarkable care and expertise which statisticians have used to make the exam valid and predictive. While we build on the best of the past, we commit today that the redesigned SAT will be more focused and useful, more clear and open than ever before.”

Each change in the redesigned SAT draws upon evidence of the knowledge and skills that are most essential for readiness and success, and the exam is also modeled on the work that students do in challenging high school courses.

The redesigned exam will:

  • have three sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math, and the Essay.
  • return to the 1600 scale. The essay will provide a separate score.
  • be approximately three hours in length, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay. The precise time of the exam will be affirmed through research.
  • be administered both in print and by computer in 2016.

The first administration of the redesigned exam will take place in spring 2016. The College Board will release the full specifications of the exam along with extensive sample items for each section on April 16 of this year.

Major changes to the exam include:

  1. Relevant words in context: “SAT words” will no longer be vocabulary students may not have heard before and are likely not to hear again. Instead, the SAT will focus on words that students will use consistently in college and beyond.
  2. Evidence-based reading and writing. Students will be asked to support answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice.
  3. Essay analyzing a source: The essay will measure students’ ability to analyze evidence and explain how an author builds an argument to persuade an audience. Responses will be evaluated based on the strength of the analysis as well as the coherence of the writing. The essay portion of the writing section will no longer be required. Two major factors led to this decision. First, while the writing work that students do in the reading and writing section of the exam is deeply predictive of college readiness and success, one essay alone historically has not contributed significantly to the overall predictive power of the exam. Second, feedback from College Board member admission officers was split; some found the essay useful, many did not. The College Board will promote analytical writing throughout their assessments and instructional resources. The organization will also sponsor an awards program modeled after the Pulitzer Prize for the best student analytical writing. The Atlantic magazine has agreed to publish the winners.
  4. Math focused on three key areas: The math section will draw from fewer topics that evidence shows most contribute to student readiness for college and career training. The exam will focus on three essential areas: problem solving and data analysis; the heart of algebra; and passport to advanced math. Students can study these core math areas in depth and have confidence that they will be assessed.
  5. Source documents originate from a wide range of academic disciplines, including science and social studies: The reading section will enable students to analyze a wide range of sources, including literature and literary non-fiction, science, history and social studies.
  6. Analyzing data and texts in real world context: Students will be asked to analyze both text and data in real world contexts, including identifying and correcting inconsistencies between the two. Students will show the work they do throughout their classes by reading science articles and historical and social studies sources.
  7. Founding Documents and Great Global Conversation: Each exam will include a passage drawn from the Founding Documents of America or the Great Global Conversation they inspire — texts like the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  8. Scoring does not deduct points for incorrect answers (rights-only scoring): The College Board will remove the penalty for wrong answers — and go to the simpler, more transparent model of giving students points for the questions they answer correctly. Students are encouraged to select the best answer to every question.

Moving forward, the College Board will also support the practice of excellent work in classrooms by working with teachers and college faculty to design course frameworks and modules for use in grades 6–12.

Of this work Coleman said, “Research will guide our efforts to enhance the work students already do in their classes in grades 6–12. And that research shows that mastery of fewer, more important things matters more than superficial coverage of many.”

On April 16, the College Board will share for the first time the complete specifications of the exam, as well as sample items, two years before any student will take the exam. The College Board will continue to present updated information over the course of the two years leading up to the first administration of the redesigned exam. Updates will also be available on the organization’s new microsite,

To read this press release in Spanish, please click here.


About the College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools. For further information, visit

The College Board

About Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission of providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy provides free online educational materials (e.g., practice exercises, instructional videos, dashboard analytics, teacher tools) that support personalized education for users of all ages in a scalable way. In the last two years, the organization has delivered over 360 million lessons and 1.6 billion exercise problems. Currently it has 10 million users per month and over 4 million exercise problems completed each day. Khan Academy covers subjects from basic Math to college level Biology and Art History. For more information visit

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Korea Times Article: Korean teachers draw lowest esteem

The Korean education system is always one of paradoxes.  In a recent poll of over 1,000 adults in the 21 OECD member countries,  it was found that only 11% of the respondents answered that they respected their teachers; this comes in spite of the fact that Korea remains one of the highest performing countries in the world.



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Bloomberg article: China Beats U.S. for Korean Students Seeing Career Ticket

More and more Korean students are choosing China as a destination for educational and employment.  Whether they are earning a degree in the country or pursuing language studies, China is widely accepted by students as a pathway to future (if not the immediate present) success.  In the last decade in Korea there has been a sharp rise in the number of Chinese language academies or hagwons, and even foreign language high schools have cohorts of students who specialize in Chinese.

Clearly, Koreans are keenly aware of the importance of China in Korea’s future, and they are getting ready.

Take a look at this article from Bloomberg News for more information. 

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East Asia leads the world in business funding

We got word of this article from NAFSA news.  Check out this article from the Times Higher Education that reports that Korean companies invest nearly $100,000 per scholar for research–the largest investment per scholar in the world!

The investment in education in South Korea starts early and continues well into the university years.

Let us know what you think:


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USCIS Scams Targeting International Students

We have had recent reports of scams involving calls appearing to come from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Please advise your students against sending money to people they do not know, or to confirm that they are dealing with a legitimate business or group.

The following links from the USCIS website can help against scams like the ones we have heard reported recently:

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Special Olympics focuses on South Korean view of disabled

As South Korea wraps up the Special Olympics in Pyeongchang today, we congratulate the athletes on representing their countries proudly!  Opportunities for the disabled and remains an issue in Korea, but one many are hoping to affect positively through exchanges of scholars, ideas, and students.  A recent visit by Dr. Judith Heumann, efforts by local schools and institutions and even U.S. universities such as Gallaudet University, show that times may be changing, and EducationUSA is ready to help be a part of that change.

We at EducationUSA are always happy to hear about opportunities that might be available for Korean students.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at if there is an opportunity you would like to share with us.  Enjoy the article!

Source:  Northwest Asian Weekly (

Special Olympics focuses on South Korean view of disabled

By Sam Kim and Ahn Young-Joon
The Associated Press

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — South Korea began showing off its new snow sports mecca with the opening of the Special Olympics on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Pyeongchang, the once-sleepy hamlet in the mountains east of the capital, will also host the Winter Olympics in five years.

But the arrival of 3,000 intellectually disabled athletes from around the world has also spotlighted South Korea’s long-criticized treatment of the disabled, who for decades were kept out of sight and out of the mainstream.

About 5 percent, or 2.5 million, of South Korea’s 50 million people are either physically or intellectually disabled. Among them, about 7 percent are intellectually disabled, according to government statistics.

South Korea classifies the physically and intellectually disabled on a scale of one to six, based on the severity of their disability. The government says the system guarantees fairness in determining what support each disabled person should receive.

Critics, however, call it a human rights violation, arguing the classification grades bodies “like meat” and stigmatizes the disabled in a society already that disdains them. They also say the six-step breakdown of disability is ineffective in meeting the diverse individual needs of the disabled.

Many workplaces in South Korea still shun employing the disabled, and South Koreans are largely indifferent to the roadblocks that keep the disabled from entering society.

“The classification determines your social status in South Korea if you are disabled,” said Jeong Jong-hwa, a professor of welfare studies at Seoul’s Samyook University.

In a 2009 study, the poverty rate for the disabled in South Korea ranked fourth-highest among 27 developed nations, while government spending for the disabled was the second-lowest among 30 developed countries surveyed, according to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development.

South Korea’s bid to host the Special Olympics was launched after former lawmaker Na Kyung-won — herself the mother of a child with Down Syndrome — attended the Special Olympics in the U.S. state of Idaho in 2009.

Na said she was dismayed that South Korea’s Special Olympics team was competing with almost no support from the government.

“South Korea boasts a world-class economy, but what I saw in Idaho showed where we stood in our welfare policy for the disabled,” Na said in a written interview.

Taking the project on as a personal mission, Na lobbied to improve support for sports for South Korea’s intellectually disabled. She will host the opening ceremony of the eight-day Pyeongchang Special Olympics as the games’ chief organizer.

Conservative ruling party candidate Park Geun-hye’s victory in the December presidential election, and her platform of sweeping welfare policies, has given some hope to those who want to abolish the classification system. Park’s policy blueprint on her campaign website says there’s a need to either reform or abolish the system.

Park takes office in late February.

The games take place as worries persist that the resort hosting both the Special Olympics and the 2018 Winter Games may go bankrupt this year if the government refuses to extend the expiration of bonds worth hundreds of millions of dollars spent building the venue.

Na said she also extended an invitation to North Korea.

However, she said she never heard back from Pyongyang. The two Koreas have been divided by a buffer zone guarded by U.N. forces since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. (end)

Associated Press writer Sam Kim reported from Seoul, South Korea.

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