Like Japan’s school structure, Korean Schools have four education levels: six years in elementary school, three years in lower secondary, three years in higher secondary and then four years for tertiary education and all operate under a full time school system. Therefore, the school system and curricula in the Korean Schools is quite similar to Japanese schools. However, the one big difference is that the Korean Schools provide classes for Korean language and Korean history.
The Korean schools serve their community in providing ethnicity-based education for Korean residents in Japan, and all classes, including Korean language classes, are conducted in Korean. Also a large number of hours are devoted to Korean history lessons that focus on the history of Japanese colonial rule of Korea, Japanese imperialism the Korean people’s resistance. Students also learn about the tragedy of the divided Korea and how Koreans from both nations, including overseas Koreans have fought for democracy and unification. This part of our history is crucial in understanding our Korean identities.
Korean Schools do not focus on educating their students to become elite people. Instead, their aim is to ensure that any Korean child living in Japan is able to receive ethnicity-based education. Children are required to take an entrance exam to measure their academic achievement level and sometimes children who do poorly are given additional tests, but all students are accepted.
There are many students who also study at Japanese cram schools to get into Japanese universities. Indeed quite a few students have made it into some famous Japanese universities such as Tokyo University.
Korean University too has a high academic level, producing lawyers one after another in recent years.
Korean Schools, have a slogan “all for one, one for all”, and provide various support programs so that every student can attain a certain academic standard. There is an “average score” competition between classes in the Korean schools. Therefore in order to win, supplementary lessons before the regular examinations are offered. Furthermore, from the beginning of primary education, students who excel at study help other students on a daily basis. This unique form of education is being appreciated more in Japanese society.
Besides regular classes, from elementary school through high school, extracurricular activities (club activities) also play a very a large part in the students’ school life. There are various kinds of sport competitions and art exhibitions where all Korean Schools gather and compete with one another.
Korean Schools also join various official sport matches with Japanese students. Korean Schools are strong in soccer and rugby, and over the years have been successful enough to compete in national tournaments.