South Korea has the highest degree of “education fever” in the world. However, this hides the reality that there are many people in Korea who missed their chances to receive a formal education due to economic and social difficulties during Korea’s industrialization, such as social gender bias and post-war poverty. Since 1997, many accredited continuing education programs have been operated in South Korea, including two-year middle and high school equivalency programs. There are 12 institutions that offer two-year programs in South Korea. Among them, Jin Hyung Adult Middle and High School, located in the center of Seoul, is the representative accredited adult educational institute. Adults who have not completed their education can obtain the highly uncommon opportunity to start (and/or complete) their academic careers from this school.
Jin Hyung Adult School was established in March 2006; it provides two-year junior and high school programs to adult learners. The current enrollment is around 1,300 students and the programs are blocked into three terms per year (on a trimester system). As an accredited institute, Jin Hyung Adult Middle and High School offer regular junior and high school diplomas after graduating without general equivalency diploma tests. Students explore various extracurricular activities including but not limited to field trips, athletic events, writing contests, choir competitions, and fall exhibitions. The school also has clubs such as orchestra, choir, art club, and K-Pop dance club.
|[Photo of a class at Jin Hyung Adult Middle and High School.
Photo courtesy of Jin Hyung Adult Middle and High School]
Every class consists of 40 students, and there is a student organization system that has a student body president, class president and class vice president. With the regular middle and high school system, students are able to experience the school years they might have missed out on as teenagers. The majority of the students tend to express true joy and happiness just due to the fact that they are able to receive proper education and study in school.
While the average student age is 63, there are some 80-year-old students as well. Despite their advanced ages, students show high participation in all classes and express great passion for learning. Moreover, although there are some male students, the great majority consists of female students, due to the traditional emphasis on male education and girls not being sent to school due to the Confucianism-inspired social convention that women did not need to be educated. Every year, hundreds of successful graduates continue their education at colleges and universities.
Ms. Kim, a 68-year old senior at Jin Hyung Adult High School, stated, “I desired to study my whole life and had many years of resentment in the fact that I was unable to have the chance for a regular education as most people do. However, my life has been so cheerful after attending this school. I have a great teacher, friends, and I love to study at school. I have finally established my dream to be a social worker, so I will go to university and continue to achieve my dream. I am so glad and thankful that there is a school for adults.” She expressed her future desire to pursue her studies at the university level after graduation.
[Photo of a Violin Club Performing in Jin Hyung Adult Middle and High School;
Since its establishment, Jin Hyung Middle and High School have produced approximately 10,000 adult learners. With a devoted and professional faculty of 45 teachers, around 1,300 students are currently realizing their dreams of getting a secondary education today. The mottos of Jin Hyung Adult High School have a lot of value—not only for its students, but everyone: “No one is too old to learn” and “When you think it is too late, it is actually the perfect time to start”.
Julia (Eunseo) Lee
Junior (Grade 11)
Chadwick International School
Julia (Eunseo) Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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