Mass Higher Education Development in East Asia

Volume 2 of the series Knowledge Studies in Higher Education pp 43-61


Higher Education Development in Korea: Accomplishments and Challenges

  • Jung Cheol ShinAffiliated withDepartment of Education, Seoul National University Email author 

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This chapter discusses how Korean higher education development has built on western university ideas, Confucian tradition, and the co-development of higher education and the national economy. The growth of Korean higher education is remarkable in its quality as well as quantity. The development has been incremental from lower level education (elementary, secondary education) to graduate education. In the development process, private higher education has functioned as the major provider of higher education. Because of the large share of student enrollment in private universities, education costs are paid by students and user payment has been widely applied. The features of higher education development discussed in this chapter are related to the Korean socio-cultural tradition (Confucian tradition), the imported western university idea, and economic development in Korea. The western ideas provided a basis for the university model, cultural and education tradition together influenced university development, and economic development drove higher education development. In addition, this chapter discusses some challenges that Korean higher education are faced with.


Higher Education Development Korea East Asian higher education Western university ideas Confucian tradition Co-development of economy and higher education