North Korean Defector Students Speak out on South's Education"People are judged and evaluated in North Korea according to their level of loyalty to the Communist Party and its principles. In South Korea people are made to suffer by their exclusion from academic cliques. Both of these systems are wrong." Lee,19, a freshman who escaped from North Korea through China in 1996, said, "I felt suffocated during my high school days because education focused only on preparation for university entrance exams."
According to the 'Escapees from North Korea Adjustment Report,' made by the Korean Educational Development Institute, of 41 students interviewed (9 elementary school students, 3 middle school students, 5 high school students, 18 undergraduates, and 6 graduates), most admitted that they had difficulty adjusting to South Korea's competitive and self-centered education system.
One escapee from North Korea, now a junior in university, explained that he had had difficulty because no classmates would lend him their notes or help him when applying to classes.
According to the report, ex-North Koreans in elementary school have great difficulty learning Chinese characters, while middle school and high school students have trouble in English, History, and Society and Culture.
by Kang Hong-Jun