South Korean school system
The South Korean school system is divided into elementary school, middle school, high school, and university. Six years of elementary school and three years of middle school education are compulsory. When students enter middle school, the level of happiness decreases sharply due to the full-fledged university entrance examination process. In general, students will wear uniforms starting from middle school, with restricted clothing and hair style.
The total number of schools at all levels in South Korea, from kindergarten to graduate school, was over 20 thousand in 2020. In recent years, the number of students per class in schools across all levels has significantly decreased due to continued lower birth rates. For example, the number of students per class in middle schools fell from around 38 in 2000 to around 25.2 in 2020. The South Korean school year consists of two semesters; the Spring semester from March to June and the Fall semester from September to December, with graduation in February.
Private education in South Korea
In 2020, 66.5 percent of Korea's primary and secondary students participated in private education. Despite the government's efforts to strengthen the public education system, the participation rate in private education remains high. The participation rate of private education by school level was highest for elementary school students and lowest for high school students in terms of increasing after-school hours. Mathematics was the school subject with the highest participation rate in private education, closely followed by English. Korean students spent 5.3 hours a week in private tutoring, and the most common method was to go to a private academy after school. Participation in private tutoring was not dependent on students’ academic performance. In addition, the average monthly tutoring cost per student steadily increased to 321 thousand won in 2019.