August 28, 2015 11:27
The number of students at four-year universities has dropped for the first time due to the low birthrate and government restructuring of universities.
According to Education Ministry data, 2.11 million students attend four-year universities, down 0.8 percent compared to last year.
The number of university students rose from just 6,640 in the 1970s to 1.04 million in 1990 and 2.03 million in 2010.
Meanwhile, a total of 3.6 million students are enrolled in institutions of higher education, including two-year colleges and Internet-based degree programs.
Numbers are dropping throughout education. There were 6.82 million students enrolled in kindergarten, elementary, secondary schools this year, down 2.4 percent from 6.98 million last year.
An Education Ministry official said, "Universities are being streamlined, so there will be a further drop in the number of students at four-year universities." This is mainly due to a crackdown on commercial degree mills that fail to meet government standards.
But the number of foreign students in Korea has risen for the first time since 2011. A total of 91,332 foreign students are enrolled in four-year universities and graduate schools, up 7.6 percent from 84,891 last year.
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