(extract from : http://oecd.mofa.go.kr/english/eu/oecd/korea/new/index.jsp)
The OECD has published its annual edition of Education at a Glace. Among the findings on Korea, the reports notes a high student enrolment rate in pre-primary education, an increase in expenditure per student at the primary to post-secondary levels, good salaries for experienced teachers, an under-representation of women school principals, and a young cohort of students at university.
Korea’s expenditure on schools from the primary to tertiary levels accounts for 5.9% of GDP, versus 5.2% on average among OECD countries. Private funding accounted for 36% of the total expenditure at these levels, the second-highest in the OECD and partner countries. Since 2008, 15% fewer students have enrolled in primary to secondary institutions, while expenditure has increased by 9%. Thus, the expenditure increase is 28% per student, quadruple the OECD average. At the tertiary level, expenditure has increased by 13% while enrolment has stayed stable.
The OECD commends Korea for its high enrolment in education of pre-school children. More than 90% of three- and four-year olds attend school, versus 71% on average within the OECD. At this level, Korea spends $6,227 per student, compared with $8,162 in the OECD. Public expenditure accounts for 78% or pre-school spending in Korea, versus 82% across the OECD.
While Korea maintains its impressive levels of enrolment in tertiary education – at 69% of 25-34-year-olds, the highest among OECD nations – there are, as in other well-educated countries, not enough jobs for university graduates. Some 78% of people aged 25-34 with a bachelor’s degree are employed, versus 82% in the OECD. At age 19, students enrolling in universities is slightly younger than the OECD average, though master’s and doctoral candidates, at 31 and 34 respectively, are older than the OECD average. Koreans with a bachelor’s degree earn 45% more on average than those without; at the master’s and doctoral levels, this percentage can rise as high as 96%.
Although Korean teachers start with lower salaries than the OECD average, after 15 years of experience they soundly outperform OECD levels ($26,815 versus $32,485 initially; $47,257 versus $44, 407 with 15 years’ experience). Secondary-education teachers aged 50 or older account for 27% of the total, an increase of more than 8% on average per year in the past decade – the highest rate among OECD nations.
A weak spot in Korean education concerns the representation of women in some fields and at higher levels. Some 60% of Korean academic staff are women, versus 69% across the OECD – and 35% at the university level, versus 43% in the OECD. Moreover, only 13% of lower secondary-level principals are female, compared with 45% across the OECD. Finally, women university graduates remain under-represented in fields such as engineering and manufacturing.
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