The Korea Herald


Korea’s college graduation rate highest in OECD


Published : Sept. 7, 2010 - 19:02

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Korea’s university and graduate school completion rate tops among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the organization’s annual educational index.

Over 98 percent of Koreans aged from 25 to 34 graduated from junior college, university or graduate school, showed the OECD’s 2010 Education at a Glance report released Tuesday.

Korea was thus ranked first in the category among 39 respondent countries -- 32 OECD member states and seven non-member states.

The contents of the report were classified into four chapters -- the achievement of educational institutions, the resources invested on education, the access to educational opportunities, and the education environment.

The general graduation rate for high school and for university was also high -- 79 percent and 37 percent respectively, both surpassing the OECD average of 71 percent and 28 percent, said officials.

The Koreans’ rate of entrance to university or graduate school was 71 percent, greatly exceeding the OECD average of 56 percent.

The junior college entrance rate, too, was high -- 38 percent, following Chile (48 percent) and New Zealand (46 percent).

The percentage of those who go for their doctoral studies, however, was 2.2 percent, slightly lower than the average of 2.4 percent.

The number of adults (aged 25-64) who participate in lifelong study was relatively low -- 29 percent for men and 31 percent for women, as opposed to the OECD average of 41 percent for both genders.

The public education fee level in comparison to the country’s GDP was also high in Korea -- 7 percent, whereas the OECD average figure was 5.7 percent.

The proportion of foreign national students was a mere 1.3 percent, way lower than the average of 8.5 percent, but was nevertheless a 0.3 percent increase from the previous year’s figure, said officials.

Also, in terms of the increase rate of foreign students in 2000-2008, Korea was ranked first.

The educational infrastructure and environment here have advanced over the years.

Although the number of students allocated to each teacher was higher than the OECD average, the figure in all schools, excluding high schools, has decreased from that of the previous year, said officials.

The corresponding report may be accessed in English on the OECD webpage ( or in Korean on the Korean Education Development Insitute’s webpage ( from this December.

By Bae Hyun-jung (