in: Citizenship studies, Volume 16, Issue 1, p. 13-28
ISSN: 1362-1025 (print), 1469-3593 (electronic)
South Korea experienced a rapid educational development after 1948 driven in large part by a broad-based public demand for education, often referred to as 'education fever' (kyoyuky [Image omitted.] l). The drive for education resulted in South Korea becoming one of the world's most literate societies and was a major contributor to its transformation from an impoverished to a prosperous, highly industrialized nation. South Korea's 'education fever' also played a key role in the development of a democratic society based on active citizen involvement in public affairs. The high rates of literacy brought about by this drive for education, the establishment of a universal and uniform school system, and the intensity of the educational experience all contributed to a common sense of community. This educational transformation took place under a series of authoritarian governments that made use of the school system to promote a sense of loyalty and legitimacy to the state while promoting liberal democratic values linked with the state's close dependency on the USA. These efforts failed to gain long-term support and legitimacy for the succession of authoritarian regimes that governed South Korea in the four decades after independence in 1948. The education system, however, fostered liberal democratic beliefs and contributed to the development of a citizenship-based participatory democracy. Adapted from the source document.