Korean Education

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God of Study
Stress, pressure, examination hell
A student sitting at a desk late at night, studying English, Mathematics, or science by him or herself, that is the image of a good student often shown in Korean T.V dramas and movies. This image is often accompanied by a private tutor or a strict parent as the student takes his or her mock exams. “God of Study” is one of the dramas that show such an image and clearly shows what Korean students go through before they get into their desired university. The story revolves around five high school students, each with unique problems that restrains them from being the best they could be. Their problems are representative of what many Korean students go through in real life. In the drama, despite all of their problems, the five students try their best to study well. They go to school early in the morning and come back at around midnight only to go to their rooms and study some more. They even go as far as staying overnight in the school on holidays to attend the intense training sessions set up by their teacher. While this type of life may seem unimaginable to students here in the states, the life of the five students in this series is quite close to that of many real life Korean students. These students often struggle to keep up with what society and their parents expect from them; their lives are basically dictated by those expectations. In a country where some 80 percent of its youth move onto higher-level education, failing to fulfill those expectations creates many problems. One of these problems is disappointing parents and family members, which in a Confucian centered culture is highly consequential. Confucianism provides most Koreans with strong family structure, norms of frugality, hard work, and a great emphasis on education. Most Korean parents spend the majority of their income on education, and so they expect results. Students who fail to achieve academic success are reproached and often punished by their...
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