The economic advancement and social progress of South Korea is very much correlated with its education system. Over the past five or six decades, Korean education has achieved a lot. The 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rank South Korea at 5th place out of 65 nations in overall score under the assessment of performance of students in 3 main core areas namely Mathematics, Reading and Science.
Korean families view education as the key to success and save a lot of money in order to send their children to overseas. They put high priority in Education for their children. Korean parents spend a whooping $17 billion a year on academies. Compare that to the $15 billion a year Americans spend on video games. South Korean students are exceptionally bright. They have a 93 percent graduation rate (whereas the US only has 77 percent), and they have the second best education system in the world.
In the past decades, South Korean parents preferred to send their children abroad US to gain quality tertiary education. However, in recent years further education in US is on the downtrend. Graduate applications from South Korea to American universities and colleges have fallen off. Fewer South Koreans study in the United States now than did five years ago and this is also in line with the overall enrollment of international students worldwide by US universities and colleges.
Despite the drop of enrollment of South Korea students in US, but parents still prefer to send their children to overseas. Now, where do South Korean students go for further education? The obvious preferred destination is China. The number of South Koreans enrolled in Chinese universities more than tripled to 62,855 last year from 18,267 in 2003, according to Seoul’s education ministry data. That’s 26% of all South Koreans registered at foreign universities, trailing only the U.S., which attracted 31% of the total. In China, students from South Korea form the largest nation which made up 21% of the total international students population in China.
With many South Korea students now study in China, will this bring about the change from Western influences of China to K-POP fever in tandem with the change of appetite of South Korea students? Let's wait and see.
WSJ Video - More South Korean Students Choose China
Bloomberg News - China beats US for Korean Students Seeing Career Ticket
The New York Times - For Some Foreign Students, US Education is Losing Its Attraction
Hanban News - “Chinese Culture Fever” in a Winter Camp in South Korea