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South Korea: Advancing Through Excellent Education

South Korea is known as one of the countries with high standards and excellence in education worldwide, with its educational system and achievements in educational quality. The quality of education in South Korea can be seen from the productivity and hard work of its human resources. The excellence of the education system in South Korea cannot be separated from the significant role played by the local government. Significant investment in research and development has formed a strong foundation for the development and improvement of education quality. Additionally, another element in the success of South Korean education is the close collaboration among various educational entities, such as schools, universities, and industries.

One concrete example of this collaboration is the Korean Lecturer Series held by the Department of International Relations at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) in collaboration with the Academy of Korean Studies. This initiative reflects a joint commitment to strengthen relations between Indonesia and South Korea through the exchange of knowledge and culture, opening doors for further collaboration in research and joint projects. South Korean government support for such initiatives demonstrates their seriousness in advancing education at the international level. The collaboration between educational institutions and industries also creates a strong bridge between the academic and practical worlds, ensuring that knowledge gained in the classroom can be directly applied in the workforce. Overall, active government involvement, significant investment in research and development, and close collaboration among various educational and industrial entities have been the main pillars of success in South Korean education, providing deep positive impacts not only for the country itself but also for the global community.

Looking back to the Joseon period, South Korean society was bound by poverty. Therefore, at that time, society competed to obtain the best possible education as a means to escape poverty. The ambition of South Korean society to obtain education became very high because society regarded education as an invaluable investment for the future. This has continued to the present day, with education being one of the main pillars supporting the progress of South Korea. In fact, the South Korean government has taken concrete steps to ensure fair and equal access to education by implementing free school policies for elementary schools. This step not only helps reduce educational disparities but also provides opportunities for all children to access quality education without financial barriers. Thus, this policy not only strengthens the country’s education foundation but also creates a strong foundation for long-term growth and progress for South Korean society as a whole. From here emerges a strong culture in South Korean society to pursue the best possible education, which has become a strong root in their lives. The challenge of preparing for the workforce drives them to pursue education diligently. This belief is driven by the conviction that with a good education, one will have a greater chance of getting a quality job. A good job is expected to generate sufficient income to ensure a better and stable life. Therefore, the hard work in pursuing education in South Korea is not just a learning process but is considered an investment to achieve prosperity and progress in life.

However, this condition has had a significant impact on South Korean society, where people have become more competitive to obtain excellent education, not only among students but also among parents. Not only students compete for the highest achievements, but parents also engage in competition to mold their children to be the best among students. It is not uncommon for students to experience mental disorders such as stress due to the pressure exerted by parents and their environment to excel. This phenomenon, which is often dramatized in Korean dramas depicting the educational environment where students often use illegal drugs and even decide to end their lives because they cannot bear the pressure from their surroundings. Parents in South Korea, in their efforts to ensure that their children receive the best education, do not hesitate to use their social status to gain access to prestigious schools. High financial involvement, often required by prestigious schools, becomes a commitment carried out with full sacrifice, providing tutoring, hiring private tutors, and providing various other educational supports. All of this is done in the hope that their children can compete well in a highly competitive academic environment. As a result, students in South Korea often spend almost all of their time studying and preparing for exams. Although this reflects a high dedication to education, it also has some negative impacts, such as high levels of stress among students and pressure to achieve academic success.

On the other hand, the entertainment media also plays an important role, as when students have leisure time, they can watch television programs that can enhance their intelligence. One prominent program is “University War,” a show that hosts math battles between prestigious universities in Korea. Innovative in its approach to learning, this program not only offers entertainment but also serves as a source of inspiration for students. This activity not only enlivens healthy competition among universities but also provides positive encouragement to students who may be losing motivation in their learning process. This shows that education does not always have to be serious and pressuring; sometimes, creative and entertaining approaches can be a catalyst for increasing enthusiasm for learning and overcoming academic boredom. With programs like “University War,” education in South Korea is not only conducted through traditional methods in classrooms but also extends to the realm of entertainment, creating space for enjoyable learning and providing positive encouragement to the younger generation.

Thus, from here, we can conclude that South Korea, as a country with minimal natural resources, inevitably has to maximize its human resources through the best education to create superior and high-quality human resources capable of being a force for South Korea itself. Supporting factors are also needed to support educational progress such as investment in research, personal awareness of the importance of education, to entertainment media that also contribute to building education in South Korea.

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