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Korea : Curricula

5.1 First phase: Pre-compulsory, age 3 - 6 5.1.1 Control
Overall curriculum control Korea has a national curriculum, which has been revised regularly in accordance with a five- to ten-year cycle since the first revision in 1954. The Minister of Education is responsible for providing the framework for school curricula. The national curriculum is proclaimed in the form of circulars and is mandatory for all schools from kindergarten to upper secondary, including private schools. The national curriculum sets strict regulations for the number of schools days, the subjects to be taught for each school year, and the time allocation for each subject in each school year, but there is some room for modification either by local education authorities or individual schools. In other words, the national curriculum prescribes not only the range of subjects to be offered at each level of formal education, but also the content of and the time allocation for each subject. Moreover, it provides criteria for the development of textbooks. The national curriculum also provides general guidelines for teaching-learning activities and methods of assessment.24 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum. The national curriculum literature establishes different goals and objectives for pre-compulsory kindergartens, compulsory elementary schools, lower secondary junior high schools, post-compulsory upper secondary high schools and special schools. Article 23 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law2 states that schools should administer the curriculum; that the Minister of Education has the power to determine the standards and content of the curriculum; and that school superintendents may establish further standards and content to reflect their district's particular situation (within the limits of the curriculum set by the Minister).45,43,27 Sixth National Curriculum (March 1995 - March 2000) As mentioned, the national curriculum is subject to regular revision to meet various demands, both from inside and outside schools, as well as 45 for social/national change. In the 1990s, education policies emphasised preparing students for the future and the revised education law 4 granting local autonomy was implemented in 1991. This resulted in district offices of education being inaugurated at the provincial level, thus setting a new benchmark in the democratisation and localisation of education. It is against this background that the Sixth National 48 Curriculum was introduced in 1995. In principle, this gave more autonomy to schools at municipal and local levels so that curricula would 17 meet their individual needs. The well-educated person was defined in the Sixth Korean National Curriculum as a person who was healthy, independent, creative and moral. In order to ensure this development, the school curriculum was designed within a general framework to:     Bring up students as democratic citizens with a sense of moral maturity and a heightened consciousness of civic life. Develop creative abilities to cope with social change. Diversify content and methods of instruction with respect to the individual differences, abilities and needs of students. Enhance the quality of education by improving the system of curriculum organisation and implementation.45 The guiding principle of the Sixth Curriculum Revision (October 1990 - October 1992, which resulted in the introduction of the Sixth National Curriculum in 1995) was the "education of the self-reliant, creative and moral Korean to lead the 21st century" . 45 Seventh National Curriculum (March 2000) During the development of the Seventh National Curriculum, which was introduced gradually from the beginning of the 2000 academic year (March 2000), former President Kim Youngsam's Presidential Commission on Education Reform ( PCER) advised that, in preparation for the 21st Century, the development of creativity in elementary school, junior high school andhigh school children should be given high priority. To do this, the Commission proposed decreasing the number of compulsory subjects in the curriculum and increasing the importance of optional 17 subjects. See sections 5.2.2,5.2.3, 5.3.2, 5.3.3, 5.4.2 and 5.4.3 for further information.

The basic purpose of the Seventh National Curriculum is stated as being: "To loosen the rigid and centralised curriculum framework. Specifically, teachers are encouraged to be directly and actively involved in the decision and planning process for the curriculum. Local offices of education and schools should establish systematic and concrete guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum and develop individualised guidelines which are customised for local needs and circumstances." 31 On the basis of the stated ideals of education, the well-educated Korean citizen targeted by the Seventh National Curriculum is defined as a person who:         Seeks to develop his/her own individuality on the basis of well-rounded and wholesome development. Demonstrates creative ability on the basis of a solid grounding in basic knowledge and skills. Explores career paths on the basis of broad intellectual knowledge and skills in diverse academic disciplines. Creates new values on the basis of understanding the national culture. Contributes to the development of the community where he/she lives, on the basis of democratic citizenship. 41 In keeping with its goal of developing the well-educated person, the Seventh National Curriculum is designed within a general framework to:

Design the curriculum to help students acquire basic abilities which will enable them to lead the trends of social change. Introduce a system of a national common basic curriculum and an elective-centred curriculum. Optimise the volume and level of the content of learning and to introduce the differentiated curriculum so as to provide students with indepth education.  Diversify the contents of the curriculum and methods of instruction in consideration of each student's ability, aptitude and career choice.  Broaden the autonomy of individual schools in organising and implementing their own curriculum.  Reinforce the quality control of education by establishing the curriculum evaluation system. 41 Local control of the curriculum The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum. Until recently, the Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs) or individual schools had not generally had the autonomy to decide what to teach, or how to teach it. However, within this context, recent curriculum revisions have put more emphasis on the decentralisation of curriculum control. The Sixth National Curriculum, for example allowed local education authorities to select appropriate subjects to teach and to decide the unit number of courses required at high school level. It also encouraged individual schools to modify the national curriculum or to develop new subjects, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and on the interests of students, teachers and community members. This decentralised policy continued with the seventh curriculum revision. It is intended that, by giving more autonomy to schools and local authorities, curricula will become more appropriate to individual schools and students, and will contribute to increasing the diversity of educational programmes.24 Under Article 27(6) of the Local Education Autonomy Law,4superintendents at both municipal and provincial levels are advised to make use of the basic guidelines of the national curriculum framework, in the organisation of the curriculum to meet the needs of students in the local area. Schools themselves are then expected to prepare their own curriculum implementation plan. Curriculum implementation in schools is regularly supervised by the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs).46 In addition, the MPEAs establish committees for research and consultation with regard to the curriculum. Such committees are expected to include teachers, educational administrators, educational experts and parents as members and it is intended that they conduct research on

the organisation and implementation of the curriculum in cooperation with schools, research institutions and universities and use the results to improve the guidelines for organisation and implementation. 46 Schools are also urged to encourage parental involvement in the curriculum in order to increase educational effectiveness. 46 Even though the Fifth and Sixth National Curricula allowed more autonomy to school districts and schools, in practice, neither the districts nor the schools attempted to reorganise the national curriculum according to their local situation. Although, some schools did change the sequence of content for seasonal reasons and some districts developed their own textbooks for social studies, introducing their local heritage.17 Agencies involved and the process of curriculum review The national curriculum is, in principle, developed and implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST) through its Curriculum Planning Division in the School Policy Bureau. In practice, however, curriculum development research work is often conducted by government-funded educational research institutes or, in some cases, by special committees of academics and specialists, who develop general frameworks or curricula for specific subjects. The Korean Educational Development Institute ( KEDI) used to have this role. However, in 1998 the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation ( KICE) was set up to take over the research involved in curriculum development and student assessment.24 In 2008 changes were introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involved syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes were also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers.

5.1.2 Compulsory subjects
Pre-school (kindergarten)/early childhood education focuses on providing an appropriate environment and services for nurturing children (aged 3 to 6), and ensuring their full potential through a range of enjoyable activities. A focus on diversified content and methods of instruction is an important component. (http://english.mest.go.kr/main.jsp?idx=0201020101) The curriculum covers five life areas:  Health  Society  Expression  Language  Enquiry/exploration in daily life.45 The main focus of the pre-compulsory kindergarten curriculum is to:         Instil habits for a healthy and safe life and a balanced physical development. Develop an ability to understand others and express ideas using correct words. Arouse interest in the natural and social environment and develop an inquisitive attitude toward unknown things. Respect children's interests, concerns and individual differences. Have pride in what one does and to develop an ability to express oneself creatively in music, dancing and painting. Develop basic life habits necessary for daily life and to foster love for family, peers and neighbours. Arrange play-centred activities for children. Promote the well-balanced and wholesome development of the child.46,81

5.1.3 Optional/elective subjects
Not applicable during this phase. However, as part of measures to improve the quality of pre-school education, some funds will be made available to allow kindergartens to run special classes offering English, arts and physical education to help reduce private education costs. 107

5.1.4 Formulation of curriculum
In kindergarten education, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) are expected to use the national curriculum guidelines to offer kindergartens detailed guidelines for curriculum organisation and implementation, based on the needs and circumstances of the kindergarten, and on local communities', children's, teachers' and community members' concerns. This includes providing guidelines on the number of instructional days and on instructional time; providing a general education plan, local educational priorities and specific instructional programmes; and providing assessment provisions.46

5.1.5 Key skills
Key skills, as such, are not determined for pre-compulsory kindergarten education. However, the main focus of the kindergarten curriculum is to:          Place an emphasis on the basics for daily life. Respect children's interests, concerns and individual differences. Arrange play-centred activities for children. Promote the well-balanced and wholesome development of the child.46 In addition, the curriculum covers five key areas: Health Society Expression Language Enquiry/exploration in daily life.45

5.1.6 Curriculum materials
Textbooks To ensure the standard quality of education, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST) prescribes the curriculum for each 43 school level and criteria for the development of textbooks and instructional materials from kindergarten to high school education. The textbooks compiled within this framework are classified into three types:  Those whose copyrights are held by (that is, those which are compiled by) the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST). Nearly allelementary school textbooks are government-copyrighted and those for Korean, Korean history and moral education at middle school and high school level.  Textbooks produced by commercial/private publishers which are authorised by the Minister of Education. This applies to most textbooks used in middle schools and high schools.  Those which are approved, by the Minister of Education, on the request of school principals (headteachers) or superintendents of Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs). This is the most rare type of authorised textbook in Korea. 43,24 For kindergarten, a collection of government-copyrighted instructional materials has been developed. In addition, in a bid to strengthen the substance of kindergarten education, the Government also regularly develops four or five types of instructional materials, such as teachers' instructional guides, children's play tools, and parents' educational materials, which it distributes to kindergartens nationwide free of charge.88 Other curricular materials In addition to textbooks as curriculum materials, the Educational Broadcasting System ( EBS) was opened in 1990 in order to 'support school education and expand the opportunity for education'. EBS has one public television and two satellite television channels, a radio channel and

a staff of over 600. In operating the broadcasting system, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST) is responsible for policymaking, programme organisation and administrative and financial support. EBS takes charge of actual education broadcasting (planning, organisation, production and delivery) and the Korean Broadcasting System is responsible for transmission. MEST subsidises EBS to around 40 per cent of its budget and suggests the basic format of all programmes. 45,43,27 Educational broadcasting programmes on television are on air for substantial periods of the day from Monday to Friday (over 13 hours), and for 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Educational broadcasting radio programmes are on air for 20 hours every day. In addition to school education programmes (which follow the prescribed curricula and also include programmes on foreign language conversation, vocational education, environmental education, home discipline, culture, music and art) there are also correspondence/open university programmes and social education programmes for children, young people, parents and the general public.45,43,27 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) expects the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) to make every effort to develop and disseminate various teaching-learning materials other than textbooks.46All schools, for example, are encouraged to utilise multimedia programmes and materials, such as radio/television programmes, audio-visual materials, computers etc. in combination with textbooks. In addition to school textbooks, teacher handbooks, audio tapes, video tapes, computer software, CD-ROMs etc. are all available for schools.24 The Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) was established in April 1999 with the purpose of developing high quality educational software for use in schools. 85 Its website is available at:http://english.keris.or.kr In addition, the EDUNET service is also available. This is a free educational information system for teachers, students and parents. It provides access to information on learning materials by theme, teacher guides, educational software, research reports and theses, bulletin boards, education counselling facilities; open discussion fora; information about educational organisations; and statistical data on education. KERIS operates and maintains EDUNET. 85 The EDUNET website is available athttp://www.edunet4u.net/main/english/introduction.jsp

5.2 Second phase: Primary, age 6 - 12 [see 3.2.2] 5.2.1 Control
Overall curriculum control Korea has a national curriculum, which has been revised regularly in accordance with a five- to ten-year cycle since the first revision in 1954. The Minister of Education is responsible for providing the framework for school curricula and the national curriculum is proclaimed in the form of circulars. It is mandatory for all schools from kindergarten to upper secondary, including private schools. The national curriculum sets strict regulations for the number of schools days, the subjects to be taught for each school year, and the time allocation for each subject in each school year, but there is some room for modification either by local education authorities or individual schools. In other words, the national curriculum prescribes not only the range of subjects to be offered at each level of formal education, but also the content of and the time allocation for each subject. Moreover, it provides criteria for the development of textbooks. The national curriculum also provides general guidelines for teaching-learning activities and methods of assessment.24 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum - through the Curriculum Planning Division in the School Policy Bureau. The national curriculum literature establishes different goals and objectives for pre-compulsory kindergartens, compulsory elementary schools, lower secondary junior highschools (middle schools), post-compulsory upper secondary high schoolsand special schools. Article 23 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law 2states that schools should administer the curriculum; that the Minister of Education has the power to determine the standards and content of the curriculum; and that school superintendents may establish further standards and content to reflect their district's particular situation (within the limits of the curriculum set by the Minister).45,43,27 The Enforcement Ordinance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law 2 specifies 'Courses of Study' for each level of formal education. The Education Principle Law272 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Law guarantee equal opportunity in education and prescribe the curriculum for each school level and criteria for the development of textbooks and instructional materials. 27 On the basis of the stated ideals of education, the well-educated Korean citizen targeted by the curriculum is defined as a person who:

    

Seeks to develop his/her own individuality on the basis of well-rounded and wholesome development. Demonstrates creative ability on the basis of a solid grounding in basic knowledge and skills. Explores career paths on the basis of broad intellectual knowledge and skills in diverse academic disciplines. Creates new values on the basis of understanding the national culture. Contributes to the development of the community where he/she lives, on the basis of democratic citizenship.41 In keeping with its goal of developing the well-educated person, the current Seventh National Curriculum is designed within a general framework to:

  

Design the curriculum to help students acquire basic abilities which will enable them to lead the trends of social change. Introduce a system of a national common basic curriculum and an elective-centred curriculum. Optimise the volume and level of the content of learning and to introduce the differentiated curriculum so as to provide students with indepth education.  Diversify the contents of the curriculum and methods of instruction in consideration of each student's ability, aptitude and career choice.  Broaden the autonomy of individual schools in organising and implementing their own curriculum.  Reinforce the quality control of education by establishing the curriculum evaluation system. 41 Local control of the curriculum The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum. Traditionally, Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs) and individual schools have not had significant autonomy to decide what to teach, or how to teach it. It is within this context that recent curriculum revisions have put more emphasis on the decentralisation of curriculum control. The Sixth National Curriculum, for example allowed local education authorities to select appropriate subjects to teach and to decide the unit number of courses required at high school level. It also encouraged individual schools to modify the national curriculum or to develop new subjects, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and on the interests of students, teachers and community members. This decentralised policy continued under the seventh curriculum revision. It is intended that, by giving more autonomy to schools and local authorities, curricula will become more appropriate to individual schools and students, and will contribute to increasing the diversity of educational programmes.24 Under Article 27(6) of the Local Education Autonomy Law,4 superintendents at both municipal and provincial levels are advised to make use of the basic guidelines of the national curriculum framework in the organisation and implementation of the curriculum, to meet the needs of students in the local area. Schools themselves then prepare their own curriculum implementation plan in accordance with the Education Law,9 the Enforcement Decree of the Education Law, the National Curriculum for Kindergartens and the MPEAguidelines.46 It was intended that the Sixth National Curriculum (see below) would give more autonomy to schools at municipal and provincial levels, so that curricula would be appropriate for the individual school.16Consequently, in practice, there may often be three curricula in place:  The nationally determined curriculum  The provincial interpretation of the national curriculum  The school's interpretation of the provincial curriculum and national curriculum. Curriculum implementation in schools is regularly supervised by the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs).46 The MPEAs are also expected to develop and operate in-service teacher training programmes concerning the curriculum to improve teaching in schools and to improve the efficiency of teachers in dealing with individual subjects and extracurricular activities in schools (elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools).46 In addition, the MPEAs establish committees for research and consultation with regard to the curriculum. Such committees are expected to include teachers, educational administrators, educational experts and parents as members and it is intended that they conduct research on the organisation and implementation of the curriculum in cooperation with schools, research institutions and universities and use the results to improve the guidelines for organisation and implementation. 46 Decisions on national curriculum standards are taken at national level (that is, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST). The standards consist of the direction of curriculum design, educational goals by school level, organisation of the curriculum and time

allocation standards, and guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum. At the regional level, the basic guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum are specified. These include: instructional objectives, contents (addition, abbreviation and integration of contents), level, order of contents, time allocation, emphasis of instruction, educational materials, evaluation, and teacher training. At the school level, each school makes decisions concerning the school-based curriculum and its implementation.16 The Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities (MPEAs) set up operating guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the elementary school curriculum, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and the interests of children, teachers and community members. The school then prepares its own curriculum implementation plans, based on its situation and in accordance with the appropriate government decrees, MPEA guidelines and the national curriculum for elementary school.17 In elementary school education, the MPEAs are also expected to provide guidelines for extracurricular activities; for emphasis on particular subject areas; for orientation programmes for school beginners; for the operation of optional courses or school discretionary activities; and for access to various educational materials necessary for implementation of the curriculum.46,33 In addition, individual schools are expected to:  Implement the curriculum in such a manner that a consistent emphasis is given to the sequential learning of basic elements of each compulsory subject ('subject matter').  Rearrange the content of compulsory subjects (subject matter) and extracurricular activities with regard to sequence, emphasis and instructional method.  Make an effort to organise extracurricular activities in a balanced way, but possibly placing greater emphasis on certain core areas that may develop into a school tradition.  Take the MPEA guidelines into consideration in implementing school-based creative courses, but also to organise optional courses or school discretionary activities either as supplementary and enrichment programmes of compulsory subjects, or extracurricular activities, or entirely new courses, depending on the unique needs of the school or the demands of the students.  Place an emphasis on such aspects as moral, environmental, economic, work-oriented, health and safety, sex, careers and unification education in the teaching of compulsory subjects and extracurricular activities, through an integrated approach to whole school programmes and by mutual cooperation between the school, the community and the home. 46,33 Schools are also urged to encourage parental involvement in curriculum implementation in order to increase educational effectiveness.46 Even though the Fifth and Sixth National Curricula allowed more autonomy to school districts and schools, in practice, neither the districts nor the schools attempted to reorganise the national curriculum according to their local situation. Some schools, however, did change the sequence of content for seasonal reasons and some districts developed their own textbooks for social studies, introducing their local heritage.17 Sixth National Curriculum 1995-2000 The school curriculum in Korea is subject to regular revision to meet various demands, both from inside and outside schools, as well as for social/national change.45 Since the Republic of Korea was established, the national curriculum has been revised several times. In the 1990s, education policies emphasised preparing students for the future and the revised education law granting local autonomy was implemented in 1991.4 This resulted in district offices of education being inaugurated at the provincial level, thus setting a new benchmark in the democratisation and localisation of education. It is against this background that the Sixth National Curriculum was introduced48in 1995. In principle, this gave more autonomy to schools at municipal and local levels so that curricula could be adapted to meet individual, local needs.17 The guiding principle of the Sixth National Curriculum Revision (October 1990 - October 1992, which resulted in the introduction of the Sixth National Curriculum in 1995) was the "education of the self-reliant, creative and moral Korean to lead the 21st century".45 In order to ensure this development, the Sixth National Curriculum was designed within a general framework to:  Bring up students as democratic citizens with a sense of moral maturity and a heightened consciousness of civic life.  Develop creative abilities to cope with social changes.  Diversify content and methods of instruction with respect to the individual differences, abilities and needs of students.



Enhance the quality of education by improving the system of curriculum organisation and implementation.46 Implementation of the Sixth National Curriculum began in elementary schoolsand junior high schools in March 1995. Seventh National Curriculum, March 2000 In the development of the Seventh National Curriculum, which was implemented gradually in Korea from March 2000, the Presidential Commission on Education Reform (PCER) advised that, in preparation for the 21st Century, the development of creativity in elementary school, junior high school and high school children should be given high priority. To do this, the Commission proposed decreasing the number of compulsory subjects in the curriculum, increasing the importance of optional subjects, and diversifying the curriculum according to different achievement levels. The Seventh National Curriculum is differentiated and consists of two parts: the national compulsory curriculum for children in Years 1 to Year 10 (students aged 6-16) (education is compulsory until the end of Year 9, aged 15) and optional courses for students in Years 11 and 12 (aged 16-18) (see5.2.2).17 The basic purpose of the Seventh National Curriculum is stated as being: "To loosen the rigid and centralised curriculum framework. Specifically, teachers are encouraged to be directly and actively involved in the decision and planning process for the curriculum. Local offices of education and schools should establish systematic and concrete guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum and develop individualised guidelines which are customised for local needs and circumstances." 31 The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced in stages, as follows: Effective year of the Seventh National Curriculum by school level Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Elementary school Junior high school Grades 1 & 2, ages 6-8 Grades 3 & 4, ages 8- Grade 7, age 1210 13 Grades 5 & 6, ages 10- Grade 8, age 1312 14 Grade 9, age 1415 High school

Grade 10, age 1516 Grade 11, age 1617 Grade 12, age 1718

Source: GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January.

Some changes are currently being introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involve syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes are also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers. Agencies involved and the process of curriculum review The national curriculum is, in principle, developed and implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST) through its Curriculum Planning Division in the School Policy Bureau. In practice, however, curriculum development research work is often conducted by government-funded educational research institutes or, in some cases, by special committees of academics and specialists, who develop

general frameworks or curricula for specific subjects. The Korean Educational Development Institute ( KEDI) used to have this role. However, in 1998 the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) was set up to take over the research involved in curriculum development and student assessment.24

5.2.2 Compulsory subjects
The Seventh National Curriculum - March 2000 In developing the Seventh National Curriculum, which was implemented gradually from March 2000, the Presidential Commission on Education Reform (PCER) advised that, in preparation for the 21st Century, the development of creativity in elementary school, junior high school and high schoolchildren should be given high priority. To do this, the Commission proposed decreasing the number of compulsory subjects in the curriculum; increasing the importance of optional subjects; and diversifying the curriculum according to different achievement levels. The Seventh National Curriculum therefore consists of two parts: the national compulsory curriculum (known as National Common Courses) for children in Years 1 to 10 (aged 6-16, compulsory education ends at age 15) and optional courses for students in Years 11 and 12 (ages 16-18). The concept of the differentiated curriculum was also introduced for Korean language, English, mathematics, science and social studies. From Years 1 to 10, the curriculum is differentiated on the basis of a student's academic ability.24 English continues to be taught in the Seventh National Curriculum to children from Grade 3 (aged 8-9). Students in Grades 3 and 4 study English for 34 instructional hours (40 minutes) each year (one instructional hour per week) and those in Grades 5 and 6 for 68 instructional hours per year (two per week).27 English became compulsory from Grade 3 under the previous Sixth National Curriculum. This move towards English language teaching atelementary school level reflected a concern to encourage Korean students to learn more about the West in a 'greater globalisation' programme. It was intended that the introduction of the study of the English language at an early age should help young South Koreans become more internationally-minded. The changes were a response to the Government's desire for the Republic of Korea to become a prominent member of the international community. Elementary school students were encouraged to study the West's culture, including its food, sports and ways of life.57 The Seventh National Curriculum also reduced the amount of subject content students have to cover each year by around 30 per cent. This was in order to extend school discretionary time, that is, encourage schools to adapt the curriculum to local needs, and to encourage students' self-directed learning, independent studies and creative activities within school. 24 The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced in stages to elementary school education in Korea, as follows: Effective year of the Seventh National Curriculum for elementary school Year 2000 2001 2002 Elementary school Grades 1 & 2, ages 6-8 Grades 3 & 4, ages 8-10 Grades 5 & 6, ages 10-12

Source: GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January.

Subjects The Seventh National Curriculum includes the following compulsory subjects for elementary level education:    Ethics/moral education (combined with social studies and taught as 'disciplined life' in Years 1 and 2). Korean language. Mathematics.

    

Social studies (social studies and moral education/ethics are combined in Years 1 and 2 to form a 'disciplined life' course). Science (in Years 1 and 2 taught as an 'intelligent life' course). Physical education (PE) (PE, music and arts are combined in Years 1 and 2 to form a 'pleasant life' course). Music (music, PE and arts are combined in Years 1 and 2 to form a 'pleasant life' course). Arts (arts, PE and music are combined in Years 1 and 2 to form a 'pleasant life' course). In addition, English is included from Grade 3 onwards, practical arts (technology and home economics) from Grade 5 onwards and, throughout primary education, students must study extra-curricular/special activities and optional subjects (school discretionary time). An orientation programme ('we are the first graders') usually also takes place during the first month (March) of a student's first year. Science and social studies are taught as integrated subjects until upper secondary education (students aged 15-18), when science is separated into physics, chemistry, biology and earth science, and social studies into geography, history, politics, economics and cultural studies.24 Differentiation under the Seventh National Curriculum Under the national common basic curriculum for Grades/Years 1-10 (ages 6-16) introduced under the Seventh National Curriculum, the following subjects were differentiated:



Mathematics and English: ten levels of mathematics courses are offered from Grade/Year 1 through to Year 10 and four levels of English courses are offered from Grade 7 to Grade 10. Each level is further sub-divided into two sub-levels, operated on a semester basis41 (that is, one level for each of the semesters each year).325  Korean language, social studies, science and English: there is in-depth and supplementary differentiation for Korean language courses from Grade 1 to Grade 10, for social studies and science courses from Grade 7 to 10 and for English courses from Grade 3 to 6.41 Time allocation -Seventh National Curriculum Elementary School Curriculum - Minimum Instructional Hours (40 minutes) by Subject and Grade/Year Level during 34 School Weeks a Year (30 'academic' study weeks in Grade/Year 1, plus an additional four weeks of 'orientation' activities) Years 1 and 2 Year 1 (age 6 -7) Korean language Mathematics Disciplined life Intelligent life Pleasant life 'We are the first graders' (orientation programme) Optional/independent activities 210 120 60 90 180 80 60 Year 2 (age 7 - 8) 238 136 68 102 204 n/a 68

Extra-curricular/special activities Total

30 830

34 850

Years 3 - 6 Subject Year 3 (age 8 - 9) 34 238 136 102 102 102 68 68 Year 4 (age 9 10) 34 204 136 102 102 102 68 68 Year 5 (age 10 11) 34 204 136 102 102 102 68 68 68 Year 6 (age 11 12) 34 204 136 102 102 102 68 68 68

Moral education/ethics Korean language Mathematics Social studies Science Physical education Music Fine arts Practical arts (technology and home economics) English (Foreign language) Extra-curricular/ special activities Optional courses/ independent activity/ school discretionary

34

34

68

68

34

68

68

68

68

68

68

68

time TOTAL MINIMUM HOURS OF INSTRUCTION

986

986

1,088

1,088

Source: REPUBLIC OF KOREA. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION (MOE) (1997). The School Curriculum of the Republic of Korea. Seoul: Ministry of Education, and GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January. Andhttp://english.mest.go.kr/main.jsp?idx=0201030101

Although, in principle, one instructional hour covers 40 minutes in elementary school, schools are entitled to adjust the duration of each instructional hour, depending on weather and seasonal changes, individual school situations, the developmental level of students, the nature of learning etc.41 Some changes are currently being introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involve syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes are also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers. Details of the former Sixth National Curriculum (to March 2000) are provided in Appendix 1. New areas of study Education constantly needs to pay attention to new topics or areas of social concern, such as international understanding, education for the world of work, computer or information technology, health education, environmental studies and, in Korea in particular, reunification. Such new areas of study are generally integrated into the existing subjects. For example, environmental studies is covered in such subjects as science and social studies, and international understanding is dealt with by social studies. However, these subject areas are also taught as separate subjects. Information technology and environmental studies, for example, are often offered as elective subjects in both junior high school and high school. The table below shows how such themes are covered in the curriculum structure.24

Themes/areas Values, international understanding, moral/ ethical issues Education for the world of work Foreign languages

Dealt with in: Moral education Foreign languages

Level of schooling Years 1-12 Years 3-12

Computer/information technology

Health education (diet,

Practical arts Years 3-6 Home economics, computer (lower secondary technology onwards) English Years 3-12 One language from German, (upper secondary) French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian After-school programmes/extraYears 3-6 curricular activities (lower secondary Optional courses onwards) Physical education Years 1-12

drugs, HIV, Aids) Environmental education Optional course
Source: HWANG, G. H. (1999).

(lower secondary onwards)

Sex and relationships education Sex education is compulsory in Korea in primary, middle and high school and is taught under the subject of Home Affairs. Parents do not have the right to withdraw their children from sex education classes. Sex education in Korea has four perspectives: relationships and gender identity; physical development and well-being by gender; social environment and gender equality; and marriage and family life.102 Students in primary school (aged 6-12) learn about friendship; understanding others; adolescence; birth; how babies are born; personal hygiene; what body parts do; differences between child and adult bodies; gender roles; families; and how to protect oneself against assault.102 Reform measures to develop creativity The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has proposed reform measures focussing on developing students' creativity. It is intended that the measures will be phased in all primary and secondary schools nationwide between 2011 and 2013. They include:  reducing curriculum content by more than 20 per cent, and the number of subjects studied per semester from the current 10 to 13 to eight or fewer  encouraging students to participate in creative extracurricular activites, and recording this information in an online system for use when students apply to higher-level schools  reforming the school inspection system by increasing narrative evaluation and including a greater focus on students' critical thinking and analytical skills.109

5.2.3 Optional/elective subjects
Seventh National Curriculum The Seventh National Curriculum includes optional/elective activities (or school discretionary time/independent activities) and extracurricular or special activities. It extends school discretionary time (optional/elective, independent activities), which is used mainly to encourage students' self-directed learning in schools, and to afford extra time for students' independent study and creative activities within school. Optional activities are divided into subject optional activities and creative optional activities. Extracurricular activities/ special activities comprise student government activities, self-development activities, social service activities, event activities etc.24,41 While elementary schools are afforded some flexibility in allocating optional activities according to the individual school situation, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) recommends that elementary schools place an emphasis on creative optional activities, rather than on in-depth and supplementary study of school subjects, in order to foster students' self-directed learning abilities.41 Schools may allocate more instructional hours (units) to extracurricular activities than those specified in the time allocation standards, and operate the programmes flexibly by integrating or splitting units.41 See 5.2.2 also.

5.2.4 Formulation of curriculum
Decisions on national curriculum standards are taken at national level (that is, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, MEST). The standards consist of the direction of curriculum design, educational goals by school level, organisation of the curriculum and time allocation standards, and guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum. At the regional level, the basic guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum are specified. These include: instructional objectives, contents (addition, abbreviation

and integration of contents), level, order of contents, time allocation, emphasis of instruction, educational materials, evaluation, and teacher training. At the school level, each school makes decisions concerning the school-based curriculum and its implementation.16 That is, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) set up operating guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the elementary school curriculum, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and the interests of children, teachers and community members. The school then prepares its own curriculum implementation plans, based on its situation and in accordance with the appropriate government decrees, MPEA guidelines and the national curriculum for elementary school.17 In elementary school education, the MPEAs are also expected to provide guidelines for time allocation for extracurricular activities; for emphasis on particular subject areas; for orientation programmes for school beginners; for the operation of optional courses; and for access to various educational materials necessary for implementation of the curriculum. 46 In addition, individual schools are expected to:  Implement the curriculum in such a manner that a consistent emphasis is given to the sequential learning of basic elements of each compulsory subject ('subject matter').  Rearrange the content of compulsory subjects (subject matter) and extracurricular activities with regard to sequence, emphasis and instructional method.  Make an effort to organise extracurricular activities in a balanced way, but possibly placing greater emphasis on certain core areas that may develop into a school tradition.  Take the MPEA guidelines into consideration in implementing optional courses, but also to organise optional courses either as supplementary and enrichment programmes of compulsory subjects or extracurricular activities or entirely new courses, depending on the unique needs of the school or the demands of the students.  Place emphasis on such aspects as moral, environmental, economic, work-oriented, health and safety, sex, careers and unification education in the teaching of compulsory subjects and extracurricular activities, through an integrated approach to whole school programmes and by mutual cooperation between the school, the community and the home. 46 The Enforcement Ordinance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law specifies 'Courses of Study' for each level of formal education.45 The Korean elementary school curriculum covers broad areas in content, although the depth of study is not indicated. Usually the Courses of Study are specified in terms of concepts or principles. For instance, the overall objectives of science education in elementary schools are described as being to:  Acquire basic enquiry methods and to use these in problem solving.  Acquire facts and concepts about natural phenomena and to use these to explain natural phenomena.  Have an interest and curiosity in natural phenomena and to enhance scientific attitudes.  Acquire a knowledge of how science affects the development of technologies and is related to everyday life. 17 All schools are expected to establish attainment targets by Grade/Year level for individual subjects, extracurricular activities and school discretionary activities and to assess the progress of each student by using various evaluation tools and methods. 46 When supervising curriculum implementation in schools, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) check the whole process of "objective-content-method-evaluation" in subject matter instruction and, where applicable, in extracurricular activities and utilise the results in maintaining the quality of education.46

5.2.5 Key skills

Traditionally, excellence in the Korean language and mathematics have been regarded as the basic or key skills in Korean education. 16 The Seventh National Curriculum defines specific standards for each subject.33

5.2.6 Curriculum materials
Textbooks The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) compiles and authorises textbooks, which are classified into three types:



Those whose copyrights are held by (that is, those which are compiled by) the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST). Nearly allelementary school textbooks are government-copyrighted and those for Korean, Korean history and moral education at middle school and high school level.  Textbooks produced by private/commercial organisations which are authorised by the Minister of Education. This applies to most textbooks used in middle schools and high schools.  Those which are approved, by MEST, on the request of school principals (headteachers) or superintendents of Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs). This is the most rare type of authorised textbook in Korea. 43,24 Previously, at the elementary school level, only one textbook was authorised for each subject of the statutory curriculum. Current practice permits multiple (government-copyrighted) textbooks for individual subjects. As a result, a variety of government-copyrighted elementary schooltextbooks have been developed from which teachers/schools are able to select. 88 Textbooks and teachers' guides are the main materials available to students and teachers and elementary schools only use textbooks designated or approved by the Government.59 Private companies also develop large numbers of student workbooks and support materials, as there are no strict regulations on the publication of such materials.24 Textbooks for elementary school students are provided free of charge by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST) and students may keep them.24 Digital textbooks The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced in 2011 that it is to convert its schools classic paper textbooks to new digital versions on tablet PCs. Schools will be able to select which digital books they wish their students to use from a huge central repository provided by the Korean Education and Research Information Service (part of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology). More than 60 primary, middle and high schools are already using digital textbooks as part of their curriculum; MEST aims to have all schools converted to digital textbooks by 2015. 110 Other curriculum materials In addition to textbooks as curriculum materials, the Educational Broadcasting System ( EBS) was opened in 1990 in order to 'support school education and expand the opportunity for education'. The EBS has one public television channel, two cable/satellite television channels, a radio channel and a staff of over 600. In operating the broadcasting system, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) is responsible for policy-making, programme organisation and administrative and financial support, whilst the EBS takes charge of actual education broadcasting (planning, organisation, production and delivery) and the Korean Broadcasting System is responsible for transmission. MEST subsidises the Educational Broadcasting System to around 40 per cent of its budget and suggests the basic format of all programmes.45,43,27 Educational broadcasting programmes are on television for significant parts of the day from Monday to Friday (over 13 hours ) and 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, educational broadcasting radio programmes are provided for 20 hours every day. In addition to school education programmes (which follow the prescribed curricula and also include programmes on foreign language conversation, vocational education, environmental education, home discipline, culture, music, and art), there are also correspondence/open university programmes and social education programmes for children, young people, parents and the general public. 45,43,27 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology expects the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) to make every effort to develop and disseminate various teaching-learning materials other than textbooks. All schools, for example, are encouraged to utilise multimedia programmes and materials, such as radio/television programmes, audio-visual materials, computers etc.in combination with textbooks.46 In addition to school textbooks, teacher handbooks, audio tapes, video tapes, computer software, CD-ROMs etc. are all available for schools.24 The Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) was established in April 1999, with the purpose of developing high quality educational software for use in schools.85 Its website is available at:http://english.keris.or.kr/

In addition, the EDUNET service is also available. This is a free educational information system for teachers, students and parents. It provides access to information on learning materials by theme, teacher guides, educational software, research reports and theses, bulletin boards, education counselling facilities; open discussion fora; information about educational organisations; and statistical data on education. KERIS operates and maintains EDUNET. 85 The EDUNET website is located at:http://www.edunet4u.net/main/english/introduction.jsp

5.3 Third phase: Lower secondary, age 12 - 15 [see 3.2.3] 5.3.1 Control
Overall curricular control Korea has a national curriculum, which has been revised regularly in accordance with a five- to ten-year cycle since the first revision in 1954. The national curriculum system was originally based on the Education Law (1949) (as superseded by the Education Principle Law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Law and the Higher Education Law, all of 1997), which stipulate that the Minister of Education is responsible for providing the framework for school curricula. The national curriculum is proclaimed in the form of circulars and is mandatory for all schools from kindergarten to upper secondary, including private schools. The national curriculum sets strict regulations for the number of schools days, the subjects to be taught for each school year, and the time allocation for each subject in each school year, but there is some room for modification either by local education authorities or individual schools. In other words, the national curriculum prescribes not only the range of subjects to be offered at each level of formal education, but also the content of and the time allocation for each subject. Moreover, it provides criteria for the development of textbooks. The national curriculum also provides general guidelines for teaching-learning activities and methods of assessment.24 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum. The national curriculum literature establishes different goals and objectives for pre-compulsory kindergartens, compulsory elementary schools, lower secondary junior high schools (middle schools), post-compulsory upper secondary high schools and special schools. Article 23 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law2 states that schools should administer the curriculum; that the Minister of Education has the power to determine the standards and content of the curriculum; and that school superintendents may establish further standards and content to reflect their district's particular situation (within the limits of the curriculum set by the Minister).45,43,27 The Enforcement Ordinance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law 2 specifies 'Courses of Study' for each level of formal education. The Education Principle Law1 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Law guarantee equal opportunity in education and prescribe the curriculum for each school level and criteria for the development of textbooks and instructional materials. 27 On the basis of the stated ideals of education, the well-educated Korean citizen targeted by the curriculum is defined as a person who:      Seeks to develop his/her own individuality on the basis of well-rounded and wholesome development. Demonstrates creative ability on the basis of a solid grounding in basic knowledge and skills. Explores career paths on the basis of broad intellectual knowledge and skills in diverse academic disciplines. Creates new values on the basis of understanding the national culture. Contributes to the development of the community where he/she lives, on the basis of democratic citizenship.41 Sixth National Curriculum (1995-2000) The curricula are subject to regular revision to meet various demands, both from inside and outside schools, as well as for social/national change.45 Since the Republic of Korea was established in 1945, the national curriculum has been revised seven times. In the 1990s, education policies emphasised preparing students for the future and the revised education law granting local autonomy was implemented in 19914 This resulted in district offices of education being inaugurated at the provincial level, thus setting a new benchmark in the democratisation and localisation of education. It is against this background that the Sixth National Curriculum was introduced 48 in 1995. In principle, this gave more autonomy to schools at municipal and local levels so that the curricula would meet their individual needs. 17 The guiding principle of the Sixth Curriculum Revision (October 1990 - October 1992, which resulted in the introduction of the Sixth National Curriculum in 1995) was the "education of the self-reliant, creative and moral Korean to lead the 21st century".45 That is, the well-educated

person was defined in the Sixth Korean National Curriculum as a person who is healthy, independent, creative and moral. In order to ensure this development, the sixth national school curriculum was designed within a general framework to:  Bring up students as democratic citizens with a sense of moral maturity and a heightened consciousness of civic life.  Develop creative abilities to cope with social changes.  Diversify content and methods of instruction with respect to the individual differences, abilities and needs of students.  Enhance the quality of education by improving the system of curriculum organisation and implementation. 46 Implementation of the Sixth National Curriculum began in elementary schoolsand junior high schools in March 1995. Seventh National Curriculum (March 2001 onwards in lower secondary level education) In keeping with its goal of developing the well-educated person, the Seventh National Curriculum was designed within a general framework to:    Help students acquire basic abilities which will enable them to lead the trends of social change. Introduce a system of a national common basic curriculum and an elective-centred curriculum. Optimise the volume and level of the content of learning and to introduce the differentiated curriculum so as to provide students with indepth education.  Diversify the contents of the curriculum and methods of instruction in consideration of each student's ability, aptitude and career choice.  Broaden the autonomy of individual schools in organising and implementing their own curriculum. 41  Reinforce the quality control of education by establishing the curriculum evaluation system. The Seventh National Curriculum began to be implemented gradually in schools in March 2000. In its development, the Presidential Commission on Education Reform (PCER) advised that, in preparation for the 21st Century, the development of creativity in elementary school, junior high school andhigh school children should be given high priority. To do this, the Commission proposed decreasing the number of compulsory subjects in the curriculum and increasing the importance of optional (or school discretionary) subjects, as well as diversifying the curriculum according to different achievement levels. The Seventh National Curriculum consequently consists of two parts: the national compulsory curriculum for children in Years 1 to 10 (aged 6-16; compulsory education ends at age 15), and optional courses for students in Years 11 and 12. The national compulsory curriculum is also being organised according to different levels of difficulty rather than by Year/Grade.17 The basic purpose of the Seventh National Curriculum is stated as being: to loosen the rigid and centralised curriculum framework. Specifically, teachers are encouraged to be directly and actively involved in the decision and planning process for the curriculum. Local offices of education and schools should establish systematic and concrete guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum and develop individualised guidelines which are customised for local needs and circumstances.31 The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced in stages: Effective Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 year of the Seventh National Curriculum by school level Elementary school Junior high school High school Grades 1 & 2, ages 6-8 Grades 3 & 4, ages 8- Grade 7, age 1210 13 Grades 5 & 6, ages 10- Grade 8, age 13- Grade 10, age 1512 14 16 Grade 9, age 14- Grade 11, age 1615 17

2004

Grade 12, age 1718

Source: GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January.

In 2008, some changes are being introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involve syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes are also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers. Local control of the curriculum The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum. Indeed, until recently, Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs) or individual schools had little significant autonomy to decide what to teach, or how to teach it. It is within this context that recent curriculum revisions have put more emphasis on the decentralisation of curriculum control. The Sixth National Curriculum, for example allowed local education authorities to select appropriate subjects to teach and to decide the unit number of courses required at high school level. It also encouraged individual schools to modify the national curriculum or to develop new subjects, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and on the interests of students, teachers and community members. This decentralised policy continued in the Seventh National Curriculum revision. It is intended that, by giving more autonomy to schools and local authorities, curricula will become more appropriate to individual schools and students, and will contribute to increasing the diversity of educational programmes.24 Under Article 27(6) of the Local Education Autonomy Law, superintendents at both municipal and provincial levels are advised to make use of the basic guidelines of the national curriculum framework in the organisation and implementation of the curriculum, to meet the needs of students in the local area. Schools themselves then prepare their own curriculum implementation plan in accordance with the Education Law 9, the Enforcement Decree of the Education Law, the National Curriculum for Kindergartens and the MPEAguidelines.46 It was intended that both the Sixth and Seventh National Curricula would give more autonomy to schools at municipal and provincial levels, so that the curricula would be appropriate for the individual school.16 Curriculum implementation in schools is regularly supervised by the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs). The MPEAs are also expected to develop and operate in-service teacher training programmes concerning the curriculum to improve teaching in schools and to improve the efficiency of teachers in dealing with individual subjects and extracurricular activities in schools ( elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools).46 In addition, the MPEAs establish committees for research and consultation with regard to the curriculum. Such committees are expected to include teachers, educational administrators, educational experts and parents as members and it is intended that they conduct research on the organisation and implementation of the curriculum in cooperation with schools, research institutions and universities and use the results to improve the guidelines for organisation and implementation. 46 Decisions on national curriculum standards are taken at national level (that is, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, MEST). The standards consist of the direction of curriculum design, educational goals by school level, organisation of the curriculum and time allocation standards, and guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum. At the regional level, the basic guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum are specified. These include: instructional objectives, contents (addition, abbreviation and integration of contents), level, order of contents, time allocation, emphasis of instruction, educational materials, evaluation, and teacher training. At the school level, each school makes decisions concerning the school-based curriculum and its implementation.16 That is, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) set up operating guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the lower secondary junior high school (middle school) curriculum, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and the interests of students, teachers and community members. The school then prepares its own curriculum implementation plans, based on its situation and in accordance with the appropriate government decrees, MPEAguidelines and the national curriculum for lower secondary school.17 Schools are also urged to encourage parental involvement in the curriculum in order to increase educational effectiveness. 46

Even though the Fifth and Sixth National Curricula allowed more autonomy to school districts and schools, in practice, neither the districts nor the schools attempted to reorganise the national curriculum according to their local situation. Some schools did, however, change the sequence of content for seasonal reasons and some districts developed their own textbooks for social studies, introducing their local heritage.17 Agencies involved and the process of curriculum review The national curriculum is, in principle, developed and implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) through its Curriculum Planning Division in the School Policy Bureau. In practice, however, curriculum development research work is often conducted by government-funded educational research institutes or, in some cases, by special committees of academics and specialists, who develop general frameworks or curricula for specific subjects. The Korean Educational Development Institute ( KEDI) used to have this role. However, in 1998 the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) was set up to take over the research involved in curriculum development and student assessment.24

5.3.2 Compulsory subjects
Seventh National Curriculum In preparing the Seventh National Curriculum, the Presidential Commission on Education Reform ( PCER) recommended that, in preparation for the 21st Century, the development of creativity in elementary school, junior high school and high school children should be given high priority. To do this, the Commission proposed decreasing the number of compulsory subjects in the curriculum and increasing the importance of optional subjects,17 as well as diversifying the curriculum according to different achievement levels. As a result, the Seventh National Curriculum consists of two parts: the common curriculum (National Common Courses) for children in Years 1 to 10 (students aged 6-16, compulsory education ends at age 15), and optional courses for students in Years 11 and 12 (aged 16-18). In addition, the curriculum for Korean, English, mathematics, science and social studies for students in Years 1 to 10 is differentiated on the basis of a student's academic ability (see below). The Seventh National Curriculum also reduced the amount of subject content students have to cover each year by around 30 per cent. This was in order to extend school discretionary time, that is, to encourage schools to adapt the curriculum to local needs, and to encourage students' self-directed learning, independent studies and creative activities within school. 24 Differentiation under the Seventh National Curriculum Under the national common basic curriculum for Grades/Years 1-10 (ages 6-16) introduced under the Seventh National Curriculum, the following subjects are differentiated: Mathematics and English. There is level differentiation for mathematics and English. Ten levels of maths courses are offered from Grade/Year 1 through to Year 10 and four levels of English courses are offered from Grade 7 to Grade 10. Each level is further sub-divided into two sublevels, operated on a semester basis41 (that is, one level for each of the semesters per year). 423 Korean language, social studies, science and English. There is in-depth and supplementary differentiation for Korean language courses from Grade 1 to Grade 10, for social studies and science courses from Grade 7 to 10 and for English courses from Grade 3 to 6.41 The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced in stages, as follows: Effective year of the Seventh National Curriculum for junior high school Year Junior high school 2001 Grade 7, age 12-13 2002 Grade 8, age 13-14 2003 Grade 9, age 14-15
Source: GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January.

Subjects in junior high school education under the Seventh National Curriculum The compulsory subjects (National Common Courses) of the junior high school curriculum are:

         

Moral education Korean language Mathematics Social studies Science Physical education (PE) Music Fine arts Practical arts (technology and home economics) English. In addition, all students must study extra-curricular activities and take some optional courses (school discretionary time). Until recently, boys took technology and girls home economics. Recent changes have, however, meant that both boys and girls now have to study home economics and technology.24 Science and social studies are taught as integrated subjects until upper secondary education (students aged 15-18), where science is separated into physics, chemistry, biology and earth science, and social studies into geography, history, politics, economics and cultural studies.24 Time allocation, Seventh National Curriculum for junior high school - Minimum Instructional Hours (45 minutes) by Subject and Grade/Year Level during 34 School Weeks a Year

Subject

Moral education Korean language Mathematics Social studies Science Physical education Music Fine arts Practical arts (technology and home economics) English (foreign 102 language) Extra-curricular 68 activities Optional courses/ 136 school discretionary time

Grade 7, age 1213 68 170 136 102 102 102 68 34 68

Grade 8, age 1314 68 136 136 102 136 102 34 34 102

Grade 9, age 14-15 34 136 102 136 136 68 34 68 102

102 68 136

136 68 136

TOTAL 1,156 MINIMUM INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS (45 minutes in junior high school)

1,156

1,156

Source: REPUBLIC OF KOREA. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION (MOE) (1997). The School Curriculum of the Republic of Korea. Seoul: MOE and GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January.

Although, in principle, one instructional hour covers 45 minutes in middle school, schools are entitled to adjust the duration of each instructional hour, depending on weather and seasonal changes, individual school situations, the developmental level of students, the nature of learning etc.41 New subject areas Education constantly needs to pay attention to new topics or areas of social concern, such as international understanding, education for the world of work, computer or information technology, health education, environmental studies and, in Korea in particular, reunification. Such new areas of study are generally integrated into the existing subjects. For example, environmental studies is covered in such subjects as science and social studies, and international understanding is dealt with by social studies. However, these subject areas are also taught as separate subjects. Information technology and environmental studies, for example, are often offered as elective subjects in both junior high school and high school. The table below shows how such themes are covered in the curriculum structure.24

Themes/areas Values, international understanding, moral/ ethical issues Education for the world of work Foreign languages

Dealt with in: Moral education Foreign languages

Level of schooling Years 1-12 Years 3-12

Computer/information technology

Health education (diet, drugs, HIV, Aids) Environmental education Optional course
Source: HWANG, G. H. (1999).

Practical arts (primary) Home economics, computer Years 7-9 technology English Years 3-12 One language from German, (upper secondary) French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian After-school programmes/extra(primary) curricular activities Years 6-9 Optional courses Physical education Years 1-12 Years 7-12

In 2008, some changes are being introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involve syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes are also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers. Sex and relationships education Sex education is compulsory in Korea in primary, middle and high school and is taught under the subject of Home Affairs. Parents do not have the right to withdraw their children from sex education classes. Sex education in Korea has four perspectives: relationships and gender identity; physical development and well-being by gender; social environment and gender equality; and marriage and family life. 102 Students in middle school (age 12-15) learn about identity; attraction to the opposite sex; interaction with the opposite gender; sexual behaviour; conversation; physical changes; intimate hygiene; pregnancy and child birth; sexually transmitted diseases; sexual misbehaviour; media representation of and commercialization of sex; social gender roles and stereotypes; and family. 102 Students in the first year of high school (age 15-16) study developmental characteristics of psychology of sex; friendship and love; sexual behaviour; adolescence; pregnancy and contraception; sexually transmitted diseases; abnormal sexual behaviour; sexual assaults; media representation of sex; gender role models; marriage and families. 102 Reform measures to develop student creativity The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has proposed reform measures focussing on developing students' creativity. It is intended that the measures will be phased in all primary and secondary schools nationwide between 2011 and 2013. They include:  reducing curriculum content by more than 20 per cent, and the number of subjects studied per semester from the current 10 to 13 to eight or fewer  encouraging students to participate in creative extracurricular activites, and recording this information in an online system for use when students apply to higher-level schools  reforming the school inspection system by increasing narrative evaluation and including a greater focus on students' critical thinking and analytical skills.109

5.3.3 Optional/elective subjects
Seventh National Curriculum The Seventh National Curriculum includes optional/elective activities (or school discretionary time) and extracurricular activities. It extends school discretionary time to encourage students' self-directed learning in schools, and to afford extra time for students' independent study and creative activities within school. Optional activities are divided into subject optional activities and creative optional activities. Extracurricular activities comprise student government activities, self-development activities, social service activities, event activities etc. 24,41 In middle schools, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) recommends that, of the 136 instructional hours allocated to the study of elective/optional subjects (under school discretionary time), 102 instructional hours should be allocated to optional subject-based activities, rather than to creative activities. It is further recommended that priority should be given to the study of such elective subjects as:  Chinese characters and classics  Computer science  Environmental studies  A practical foreign language (such as German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Arabic). 41 The remaining 34 instructional hours each year should be allocated to the study of creative optional activities. 41 Schools may allocate more instructional hours (units) to extracurricular activities than those specified in the time allocation standards, and operate the programmes flexibly by integrating or splitting units.41 See section 5.3.2 for further information.

5.3.4 Formulation of curriculum

Decisions on national curriculum standards are taken at national level (that is, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST). The standards consist of the direction of curriculum design, educational goals by school level, organisation of the curriculum and time allocation standards, and guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum. At the regional level, the basic guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum are specified. These include: instructional objectives, contents (addition, abbreviation and integration of contents), level, order of contents, time allocation, emphasis of instruction, educational materials, evaluation, and teacher training. At the school level, each school makes decisions concerning the school-based curriculum and its implementation.16 That is, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) set up operating guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the compulsory lower secondary school curriculum, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and the interests of children, teachers and community members. The school then prepares its own curriculum implementation plans, based on its situation and in accordance with the appropriate government decrees, MPEA guidelines and the national curriculum for lower secondary education. 17 The Enforcement Ordinance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law2 specifies 'Courses of Study' for each level of formal education.45 All schools are expected to establish attainment targets by Grade/Year level for individual subjects and extracurricular activities and assess the progress of each student by using various evaluation tools and methods.46 When supervising curriculum implementation in schools, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) check the whole process of "objective-content-method-evaluation" in subject matter instruction and, where applicable, in extracurricular activities and utilise the results in maintaining the quality of education.46

5.3.5 Key skills
Traditionally, excellence in (rather than the mastery of) both the Korean language and mathematics have been regarded as the basic or key skills in Korean education. The standards required to achieve 'excellence' or 'mastery' have never been defined in the official curriculum. However, the Seventh National Curriculum defines specific standards for each subject.33,16

5.3.6 Curriculum materials
Textbooks The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) compiles and authorises textbooks, which are classified into three types:  Those whose copyrights are held by (that is, those which are compiled by) the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST). Nearly allelementary school textbooks are government-copyrighted and those for Korean, Korean history and moral education at middle school and high school level.  Textbooks produced by commercial/private companies which are authorised by the Minister of Education. This applies to most textbooks used in middle schools and high schools.  Those which are approved, by the Minister of Education, on the request of school principals (headteachers) or superintendents of Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs). This is the most rare type of authorised textbook in Korea.43,24 KEDI, the Korean Educational Development Institute, was previously responsible for developing textbooks for Korean schools. In January 1998, however, the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation ( KICE) took overKEDI's role in curriculum and textbook research and development. Private companies do develop large numbers of student workbooks and support materials as there are no strict regulations on 24 the publication of such materials. Parents of middle school students pay for textbooks. These are usually provided at a low cost. 24 Other curriculum materials In addition to textbooks as curriculum materials, the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) was opened in 1990 in order to 'support school education and expand the opportunity for education'. EBS currently has one public television, two cable/satellite television and one radio

channel and a staff of over 600. In operating the broadcasting system, the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development is responsible for policy-making, programme organisation and administrative and financial support, whilst the EBS takes charge of actual education broadcasting (planning, organisation, production and delivery) and the Korean Broadcasting System is responsible for transmission. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) subsidises the Educational Broadcasting System to around 40 per cent of its budget and suggests the basic format of all programmes.45,43,27 Educational broadcasting programmes are on television for significant parts of the day (over 13 hours) from Monday to Friday, and 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Educational broadcasting radio programmes are broadcast for 20 hours every day. In addition to school education programmes (which follow the prescribed curricula and also include programmes on foreign language conversation, vocational education, environmental education, home discipline, culture, music and art), there are also correspondence/open university programmes and social education programmes for children, young people, parents and the public.45,43,27 The national Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development expects the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) to make every effort to develop and disseminate various teaching-learning materials other than textbooks.46 All schools, for example, are encouraged to utilise multimedia programmes and materials, such as radio/television programmes, audio-visual materials, computers etc. in combination with textbooks. In addition to school textbooks, teacher handbooks, audio tapes, video tapes, computer software, CD-ROMs etc. are all available for schools.24 The Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) was established in April 1999 (from the Korea Multimedia Education Centre and the Korea Research Information Centre), with the purpose of developing high quality educational software for use in schools. 85 Its website is available at: http://english.keris.or.kr/es_main/index.jsp In addition, the EDUNET service is also available. This is a free educational information system for teachers, students and parents. It provides access to information on learning materials by theme, teacher guides, educational software, research reports and theses, bulletin boards, education counselling facilities; open discussion fora; information about educational organisations; and statistical data on education. KERIS operates and maintains EDUNET. 85 The EDUNET website is located at:http://www.edunet4u.net/main/english/introduction.jsp

5.4 Fourth phase: Upper secondary, age 15 - 18 [see 3.2.4] 5.4.1 Control
Overall curricular control Korea has a national curriculum, which has been revised regularly in accordance with a five- to ten-year cycle since the first revision in 1954. The national curriculum system was originally based on the Education Law (1949) 9 (as superseded by the Education Principle Law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Law and the Higher Education Law, all of 1997), which stipulate that the Minister of Education is responsible for providing the framework for school curricula. The national curriculum is proclaimed in the form of circulars and is mandatory for all schools from kindergarten to upper secondary, including private schools. The national curriculum sets strict regulations for the number of schools days, the subjects to be taught for each school year, and the time allocation for each subject in each school year, but there is some room for modification either by local education authorities or individual schools. In other words, the national curriculum prescribes not only the range of subjects to be offered at each level of formal education, but also the content of and the time allocation for each subject. Moreover, it provides criteria for the development of textbooks. The national curriculum also provides general guidelines for teaching-learning activities and methods of assessment.24 The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum - through the Curriculum Planning Division in the School Policy Bureau. The national curriculum literature establishes different goals and objectives for pre-compulsory kindergartens, compulsory elementary schools, lower secondary junior high schools (middle schools), post-compulsory upper secondary high schoolsand special schools. Article 23 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law 2 states that schools should administer the curriculum; that the Minister of Education has the power to determine the standards and content of the curriculum; and that school superintendents may

establish further standards and content to reflect their district's particular situation (within the limits of the curriculum set by the Minister).45,43,39 The Enforcement Ordinance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law2 specifies 'Courses of Study' for each level of formal education. The Education Principle Law1 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Law guarantee equal opportunity in education and prescribe the curriculum for each school level and criteria for the development of textbooks and instructional materials. 27 On the basis of the stated ideals of education, the well-educated Korean citizen targeted by the curriculum is defined as a person who:      Seeks to develop his/her own individuality on the basis of well-rounded and wholesome development. Demonstrates creative ability on the basis of a solid grounding in basic knowledge and skills. Explores career paths on the basis of broad intellectual knowledge and skills in diverse academic disciplines. Creates new values on the basis of understanding the national culture. Contributes to the development of the community where he/she lives, on the basis of democratic citizenship. 41 Sixth National Curriculum (March 1995 - March 2000) The school curriculum in Korea is subject to regular revision to meet various demands, both from inside and outside schools, as well as for social/national change45 . In the 1990s, education policies emphasised preparing students for the future and the revised education law granting local autonomy was implemented in 1991.4 This resulted in district offices of education being inaugurated at the provincial level, thus setting a new benchmark in the democratisation and localisation of education. It is against this background that the Sixth National Curriculum was introduced48 in 1995. This gave more autonomy to schools at municipal and local levels so that the curricula would meet their individual needs.17 The guiding principle of the Sixth Curriculum Revision (October 1990 - October 1992, which resulted in the introduction of the Sixth National Curriculum in 1995) was "education of the self-reliant, creative and moral Korean to lead the 21st century".45 That is, the well-educated person was defined in the Korean sixth national curriculum as a person who is healthy, independent, creative and moral. In order to ensure this development, the school curriculum is designed within a general framework to:  Bring up students as democratic citizens with a sense of moral maturity and a heightened consciousness of civic life.  Develop creative abilities to cope with social changes.  Diversify content and methods of instruction with respect to the individual differences, abilities and needs of students.  Enhance the quality of education by improving the system of curriculum organisation and implementation.46 Seventh National Curriculum In keeping with its goal of developing the well-educated person, the Seventh National Curriculum is designed within a general framework to:    Help students acquire basic abilities which will enable them to lead the trends of social change. Introduce a system of a national common basic curriculum and an elective-centred curriculum. Optimise the volume and level of the content of learning and to introduce the differentiated curriculum so as to provide students with indepth education.  Diversify the contents of the curriculum and methods of instruction in consideration of each student's ability, aptitude and career choice.  Broaden the autonomy of individual schools in organising and implementing their own curriculum.  Reinforce the quality control of education by establishing the curriculum evaluation system. 41 The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced gradually from March 2000. In its development, the Presidential Commission on Education Reform (PCER) advised that, in preparation for the 21st Century, the development of creativity in elementary school, junior high school and high school children should be given high priority. To do this, the Commission proposed decreasing the number of compulsory subjects in the curriculum and increasing the importance of optional subjects, as well as diversifying the curriculum according to different achievement levels. Consequently, the Seventh National Curriculum consists of two parts: the national compulsory curriculum for children in Years 1 to 10 (aged 6-16; compulsory education ends at age 15), and optional courses for students in Years 11 and 12 (aged 16-18). The national compulsory curriculum is also organised according to different levels of difficulty rather than by Year/ Grade. 17

The basic purpose of the Seventh National Curriculum is stated as being: "to loosen the rigid and centralised curriculum framework. Specifically, teachers are encouraged to be directly and actively involved in the decision and planning process for the curriculum. Local offices of education and schools should establish systematic and concrete guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum and develop individualised guidelines which are customised for local needs and circumstances."27 The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced in stages, as follows: Effective year of the Seventh National Curriculum by school level Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Elementary school Junior high school Grades 1 & 2, ages 6-8 Grades 3 & 4, ages 8- Grade 7, age 1210 13 Grades 5 & 6, ages 10- Grade 8, age 1312 14 Grade 9, age 1415 High school

Grade 10, age 1516 Grade 11, age 1617 Grade 12, age 1718

Source: GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January. [Dr Chaechun Gim is a Research Fellow at the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE).]

In 2008, some changes were introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involved syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes were also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers.

Local control of the curriculum The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has overall responsibility for control of the curriculum and, until recently, Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs) or individual schools have not had significant autonomy to decide what to teach, or how to teach it. It is within this context that recent curriculum revisions have put more emphasis on the decentralisation of curriculum control. The Sixth National Curriculum, for example allowed local education authorities to select appropriate subjects to teach and to decide the unit number of courses required at high school level. It also encouraged individual schools to modify the national curriculum or to develop new subjects, based on the needs and circumstances of the school and local communities and on the interests of students, teachers and community members. This decentralised policy has continued under the Seventh National Curriculum. It is intended that, by giving more autonomy to schools and local authorities, curricula will become more appropriate to individual schools and students, and will contribute to increasing the diversity of educational programmes.24 Under Article 27(6) of the Local Education Autonomy Law, superintendents at both municipal and provincial levels are advised to make use of the basic guidelines of the national curriculum framework in the organisation and implementation of the curriculum, to meet the needs of students in the local area. Schools themselves then prepare their own curriculum implementation plan in accordance with the Education Law9 , the Enforcement Decree of the Education Law, the National Curriculum for Kindergartens and the MPEAguidelines46 It was hoped that

the Sixth National Curriculum would give more autonomy to schools at municipal and provincial levels, so that the curricula would be appropriate for the individual school.16 Curriculum implementation in schools is regularly supervised by the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs). The MPEAs are also expected to develop and operate in-service teacher training programmes concerning the curriculum to improve teaching in schools and to improve the efficiency of teachers in dealing with individual subjects and extracurricular activities in schools ( elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools). In addition, the MPEAs establish committees for research and consultation with regard to the curriculum. Such committees are expected to include teachers, educational administrators, educational experts and parents as members and it is intended that they conduct research on the organisation and implementation of the curriculum in cooperation with schools, research institutions and universities and use the results to improve the guidelines for organisation and implementation 46 Decisions on national curriculum standards are taken at national level (that is, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, MEST). The standards consist of the direction of curriculum design, educational goals by school level, organisation of the curriculum and time allocation standards, and guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum. At the regional level, the basic guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum are specified. These include: instructional objectives, contents (addition, abbreviation and integration of contents), level, order of contents, time allocation, emphasis of instruction, educational materials, evaluation, and teacher training. At the school level, each school makes decisions concerning the school-based curriculum and its implementation.16 Schools are also urged to encourage parental involvement in the curriculum in order to increase educational effectiveness. 46 Agencies involved and the process of curriculum review The national curriculum is, in principle, developed and implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( MEST) - through the Curriculum Planning Division in the School Policy Bureau. In practice, however, curriculum development research work is often conducted by government-funded educational research institutes or, in some cases, by special committees of academics and specialists, who develop general frameworks or curricula for specific subjects. The Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI) used to have this role. However, in 1998 the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) was set up to take over the research involved in curriculum development and student assessment.24

5.4.2 Compulsory subjects
The Seventh National Curriculum was introduced gradually to high schools in Korea in accordance with the following timetable: Effective year of the Seventh National Curriculum for senior high school Year 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 (Senior) high school Grade 10, age 15-16 Grade 11, age 16-17 Grade 12, age 17-18

Source: GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January. [Dr Chaechun Gim is a Research Fellow at the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE).]

Seventh National Curriculum In developing the Seventh National Curriculum, the Presidential Commission on Education Reform ( PCER) suggested a reduction in the number of required subjects at high school level (students aged 15-18 in post-compulsory, upper secondary education) and an increase in the number of optional subjects. This was essentially in order to provide students with a variety of learning opportunities conforming to their aptitudes, abilities and academic or career plans.26 As a result, in March 2002, students in Year 10 (aged 15-16 - the first year of postcompulsory high school education) began to follow a compulsory national curriculum (National Common Courses) based on national standards. In March 2003, those in Year 11 (aged 16-17) began to follow an elective courses-based curriculum, as did students in Year 12 (17- to 18-year-olds) in 2004.24

The concept of the differentiated curriculum has also been introduced for Korean, English, maths, science and social studies. In Years 1 to 10, the curriculum is differentiated on the basis of a student's academic ability, and in Years 11 and 12, the curriculum is differentiated in accordance with a student's interests and intended future career path. 24 Subjects are differentiated as follows:  Mathematics and English. There is level differentiation for mathematics and English. Ten levels of maths courses are offered from Grade/Year 1 through to Year 10 and four levels of English courses are offered from Grade 7 to Grade 10. Each level is further sub-divided into two sub-levels, operated on a semester basis41 (that is, one level for each of the semesters per year).  Korean language, social studies, science and English. There is in-depth and supplementary differentiation for Korean language courses from Grade 1 to Grade 10, for social studies and science courses from Grade 7 to 10 and for English courses from Grade 3 to 6.41 The Seventh National Curriculum also reduced the amount of subject content students have to cover each year by around 30 per cent. This was in order to extend school discretionary time and to encourage schools to adapt the curriculum to local needs, encourage students' selfdirected learning, independent studies and creative activities within school.24 Compulsory Subjects, Seventh National Curriculum Under the Seventh National Curriculum, since March 2002, students in Grade 10 of high school education, aged 15-16, have studied the following compulsory subjects (National Common Courses):           Moral education Korean language Mathematics Social studies Science Physical education Music Fine arts Practical arts (technology and home economics) Foreign languages (English). In addition, some time is allocated to extra-curricular activities and to the study of optional subjects (school discretionary time) during this year (see the time allocation table which follows). See section 5.4.3 for information regarding the elective subjects which began to make up the courses of study for high school students in Grades 11 and 12, under the Seventh National Curriculum, starting in the March 2003-04 school year. High School Curriculum - from March 2002 - Minimum Instructional Hours (50 minutes) by Subject and Grade/Year Level during 34 School Weeks a Year

Subject Moral education Korean language Mathematics Social studies

Grade 10, age Grade 11, age 15-16 16-17 34 136 136 170 (68 of which are allocated to

Grade 12, age 17-18

Science Physical education Music Fine arts Practical arts (technology and home economics) Foreign languages 136 (English) Extra-curricular 68 activities Optional 204 courses/school discretionary time TOTAL 1,224 MINIMUM INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS (50 minutes in high school)

the study of Korean history) 102 68 34 34 102

8 units (over Grade 11 and Grade 12)

144 units over Grade 11 and Grade 12

Source: REPUBLIC OF KOREA. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION (MOE) (1997).The School Curriculum of the Republic of Korea. Seoul: MOE and GIM, C. (1999). School Curriculum in the Republic of Korea.' Paper presented at QCA/NFER seminar 'Citizenship education: an international perspective', London, 27-29 January. [Dr Chaechun Gim is a Research Fellow at the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE).]

Although, in principle, one instructional hour covers 50 minutes in high school, schools are entitled to adjust the duration of each instructional hour, depending on weather and seasonal changes, individual school situations, the developmental level of students, the nature of learning etc.41 Education constantly needs to pay attention to new topics or areas of social concern, such as international understanding, education for the world of work, computer or information technology, health education, environmental studies and, in Korea in particular, reunification. Such new areas of study are generally integrated into the existing subjects. For example, environmental studies is covered in such subjects as science and social studies, and international understanding is dealt with by social studies. However, these subject areas are also taught as separate subjects. Information technology and environmental studies, for example, are often offered as elective subjects in both junior high school and high school. The table below shows how such themes are covered in the curriculum structure. 24

Themes/areas Values, international

Dealt with in: Moral education

Level of schooling Years 1-12

understanding, moral/ Foreign languages Years 3-12 ethical issues Education for the world Practical arts (primary) of work Home economics, computer (lower secondary) technology Foreign languages English Years 3-12 One language from German, Years 10-12 French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian Computer/information After-school technology programmes/extra(primary) curricular activities (lower secondary) Optional courses Health education (diet, Physical education Years 1-12 drugs, HIV, Aids) Environmental education Optional course Years 7-12
Source: HWANG, G. H. (1999). In 2008, some changes were introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involved syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes were also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers. Science-focused high schools The Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has designated 53 of the country's general/academic high schools as 'sciencedfocused high schools. The selected schools will have a common curriculum that includes a minimum of 60 hours of practical science courses in Year 1 (ages 15 to 16). Intensive mathematics and science options will be available for students in Years 2 and 3 (ages 16 to 18). It is intended that 100 science-focused schools will be in operation by 2012.104

5.4.3 Optional/elective subjects
Seventh National Curriculum Under the Seventh National Curriculum, students in Year 11 of high school(aged 16-17) have, since the start of the 2003 academic year (March), been able to choose the courses they wish to take. Students in Year 12 (17- to 18-year-olds) began to follow these elective courses in March 2004 and, in March 2002, the Seventh National Curriculum extended school discretionary time for students in Year 10 (see the table in 5.4.2). The introduction of elective courses at this level is intended to encourage students' self-directed learning in schools, and to afford extra time for students' independent study and creative activities within school. 24 Under the Seventh National Curriculum, all high school students also continue to study extracurricular activities, comprising student government activities, self-development activities, social service activities, event activities etc.24,41 Schools may allocate more instructional hours (units) to extracurricular activities than those specified in the time allocation standards, and operate the programmes flexibly by integrating or splitting units.41 Students in Year 10 (of general/academic and vocational high school)

The total number of units of optional activities to be completed during the first year of high school (students in Year/Grade 10, aged 15-16) is 10, of which four to six units are allocated to the in-depth, supplementary study of subjects in the national common basic curriculum, and four to six to the study of elective subjects in the elective-centred high school curriculum (see 5.4.2). In vocational high schools, students are able to study specialist subjects, such as agriculture, industry, commerce, international affairs etc. in depth, rather than subjects from the national common basic curriculum. During the first year of high school education, two of the optional units should be allocated to the study of creative optional activities.41 Students in Years 11 and 12 following the elective-centred curriculum - general Students in Years 11 and 12 (aged 16-18) are expected to complete 144 units during the two years. 136 of these units should be elective courses; the remaining eight units should be allocated to extracurricular activities. 41 Students in Years 11 and 12 of general high school Elective courses for general subjects are divided into general elective courses and in-depth elective courses. General elective courses are organised around the study of subjects such as the liberal arts, daily life etc. and in-depth courses are designed to help students develop individual aptitudes and interests and progress along career paths. To ensure balanced course distribution, general elective courses are divided into five groups:      Humanities and social sciences, including Korean language, moral education and social studies Science and technology, including maths, science, technology and home economics Arts and physical education, including physical education, music and fine arts Foreign languages General studies, including Chinese characters and classics, military training and other general studies courses. 41 Each student has to take at least two courses from the general studies group and at least one from each of the other four subject groups. Students may, however, be exempt from taking a general elective course in the subject group in which he/she wishes to study intensively according to his/her career choice.41 Students in Years 11 and 12 of vocational high school In general, high schools offering vocational/specialist education are expected to offer students more than 82 units of general elective courses, of which 56 should be from national common basic subjects. However, there is considerable scope for changes to be implemented at the local level. For example, when students take courses from the standard/ general high school elective subjects (see above) as preparation for a specialist subject, these subjects may be regarded as national common basic subjects. Schools may also expand the total number of units to be completed by 10 per cent.41 In 2008, some changes were introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involved syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes were also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers.In 2008, some changes were introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involved syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes were also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers. In 2008, some changes were introduced to the Seventh National Curriculum; these involved syllabus/specification changes rather than profound changes to the curriculum. The changes were also intended to further increase autonomy, flexibility and responsibility for individual schools and teachers.

5.4.4 Formulation of curriculum
As indicated under sections 5.4.2 and 5.4.3, the curriculum followed in upper secondary education in Korea is time- and unit of study- based. Decisions on national curriculum standards are taken at national level (that is, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, MEST). The standards consist of the direction of curriculum design, educational goals by school level, organisation of the curriculum and time allocation standards, and guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum. At the regional level, the basic guidelines for the organisation and implementation of the curriculum are specified. These include: instructional objectives, contents (addition, abbreviation

and integration of contents), level, order of contents, time allocation, emphasis of instruction, educational materials, evaluation, and teacher training. At the school level, each school makes decisions concerning the school-based curriculum and its implementation.16 The Enforcement Ordinance of the Elementary and Secondary Education Law 2 specifies 'Courses of Study' for each level of formal education.45 All schools are expected to establish attainment targets by Grade/Year level for individual subjects and extracurricular activities and assess the progress of each student by using various evaluation tools and methods.46 When supervising curriculum implementation in schools, the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities (MPEAs) check the whole process of "objective-content-method-evaluation" in subject matter instruction and, where applicable, in extracurricular activities and utilise the results in maintaining the quality of education.46 Changes to the upper secondary curriculum The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has introduced measures to improve the delivery of education in general high schools (students aged 15 to 18) so that it is more geared towards the interests and aptitudes of students. This also includes extending the range of optional courses such as arts and social studies.introduced to meet students' differing needs and abilities. These changes

began to be piloted in selected schools from September 2010. See:http://english.mest.go.kr/web/1760/en/board/enview.do?bbsId=265&pageSize=10&currentPage= 4&boardSeq=1311&mode=view

5.4.5 Key skills
Traditionally, excellence in (rather than the mastery of) both the Korean language and mathematics have been regarded as the basic or key skills in Korean education. The standards required to achieve 'excellence' or 'mastery' have never been defined. However, the current Seventh National Curriculum defines specific standards for each subject.16

5.4.6 Curriculum materials
Textbooks The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) compiles and authorises textbooks, which are classified into three types:  Those whose copyrights are held by (that is, those which are compiled by) MEST. Nearly all elementary school textbooks are governmentcopyrighted and those for Korean, Korean history and moral education at middle school and high school level.  Textbooks produced by commercial/private publishers which are authorised by the Minister of Education. This applies to most textbooks used in middle schools and high schools.  Those which are approved, by the Minister of Education, on the request of school principals (headteachers) or superintendents of Municipal and Provincial Boards of Education (MPBEs). This is the most rare type of authorised textbook in Korea.43,24 KEDI, the Korean Educational Development Institute, was formerly responsible for textbook development in Korea. Since January 1998, however, the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE) has taken over KEDI's role in curriculum and textbook research and development.27 Private companies also develop large numbers of student workbooks and support materials, as there are no strict regulations on the publication of such materials.24 Parents of high school students pay for textbooks. These are usually provided at a low cost. 24 Digital textbooks The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced in 2011 that it is to convert its schools classic paper textbooks to new digital versions on tablet PCs. Schools will be able to select which digital books they wish their students to use from a huge central repository provided by the Korean Education and Research Information Service (part of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology). More than

60 primary, middle and high schools are already using digital textbooks as part of their curriculum; MEST aims to have all schools converted to digital textbooks by 2015. 110 Other curriculum materials In addition to textbooks as curriculum materials, the Educational Broadcasting System ( EBS) was opened in 1990 to "support school education and expand the opportunity for education". EBS currently has one public television, two cable/satellite television and one radio channel and a staff of over 600. In operating the broadcasting system, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) is responsible for policy-making, programme organisation and administrative and financial support, whilst the EBS takes charge of actual education broadcasting (planning, organisation, production and delivery) and the Korean Broadcasting System is responsible for transmission. MEST subsidises the Educational Broadcasting System to around 40 per cent of its budget and suggests the basic format of all programmes.45,43,27 Educational broadcasting programmes are on television for significant parts of the day (over 13 hours) from Monday to Friday, and for 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, educational broadcasting progammes are broadcast on radio for 20 hours every day. In addition to school education programmes (which follow the prescribed curricula and alsoinclude programmes on foreign language conversation, vocational education, environmental eucation, home disciplie, culture, music, art and Korean unification) there are also correspondence/open university programmes and social education programmes for children, young people, parents and the public.43,43,27 The national Ministry of Education, Science and Technology expects the Municipal and Provincial Education Authorities ( MPEAs) to make every effort to develop and disseminate various teaching-learning materials other than textbooks.46 All schools, for example, are encouraged to utilise multimedia programmes and materials, such as radio/television programmes, audio-visual materials, computers etc. in combination with textbooks. In addition to school textbooks, teacher handbooks, audio tapes, video tapes, computer software, CD-ROMs etc. are all available for schools.24 The Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) was established in April 1999 (from the Korea Multimedia Education Centre and the Korea Research Information Centre), with the purpose of developing high quality educational software for use in schools. 85 Its website is available at: http://english.keris.or.kr/ In addition, the EDUNET service is also available. This is a free educational information system for teachers, students and parents. It provides access to information on learning materials by theme, teacher guides, educational software, research reports and theses, bulletin boards, education counselling facilities; open discussion fora; information about educational organisations; and statistical data on education. KERIS operates and maintains EDUNET. 85 The EDUNET website is located at:http://www.edunet4u.net/main/english/introduction.jsp

http://www.inca.org.uk/korea-curricula-mainstream.html

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