March 02, 2021 13:28
Half of Koreans have college or higher degrees for the first time in the country's history.
According to the national education index released by the Education Ministry on Feb. 26, 50 percent of Koreans aged 25-64 had completed higher education as of 2019.
The proportion was barely more than 10 percent as recently as the 1990s. But it started to increase as more colleges and universities opened with eased restrictions in 1995, rising to 23.8 percent in 2000 and more than doubling to 50 percent in 2019.
Korea is among the top-ranked countries in terms of the proportion of adults aged 25-64 with college or higher degrees, coming in fifth among the 38 OECD member nations, whose average was 39 percent.
It is outpaced by Canada (59.4 percent) and Japan (52.7 percent).
Korea came in second with a whopping 69.8 percent only after Ireland (70 percent) in the category of young people aged 25-34 with higher degrees, compared to the OECD average of 45 percent.
But only three percent hold postgraduate degrees, far lower than the OECD average of 15 percent, which suggests that many young people study only enough to land a job but may not be sufficiently specialized for highly demanding jobs in advanced fields.
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