, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 73-94
Date: 20 Jun 2012

The track of policies for educational equality and its implications in Korea

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Most countries have taken equality of education as a paramount issue, but policy initiatives have not taken the same patterns across the nations. This paper addressed the features of equality policies and their changes in South Korea through an array of target groups and types of policy measures. According to a contingency approach, Korea relied critically on non-financial instruments characteristic of regulations, when the government was not financially well prepared for equalizing opportunities. It also gave a serious consideration to out-of-school factors besides school characteristics, because the equality policy confined to schools is destined to have only so little meaning. Regulations on the advantaged group were introduced along with preferential treatment for the disadvantaged in pursuit of equality. Now Korea is in transition from outside-in movements to inside-out improvements in the process of ensuring equality, and it means that the alternatives of equality policies have become dramatically narrowed. Recently, the Korean model is facing challenges from courts and constituents who advocate for constitutional rights to free choices of education.