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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Educational Inequality in Korea: Recent Trends and Persistent Structure

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2004, v.44 no.1, pp.42-74

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Abstract

This paper analyzes how and to what extent inequalities in educationalopportunity in Korea have changed during the second half of the twen-tieth century. Educational inequality is defined by social class differen-tials in both the quantity (success) and quality (path) of school transi-tions made at the secondary (middle to high school) and tertiary (col-lege) levels of schooling. The extent of educational stratification asexamined by the probability of transition to a higher grade has notbeen visibly alleviated over multiple generations. We also find that theextent of educational stratification is stronger in the secondary levelsthan in the tertiary schooling transition. The results also show that thelong-term trend of stratification in the Korean educational system hasdecreased inequality in terms of scale, but increased the qualitativeinequality of educational achievement between social classes. Even dur-ing the period of educational expansion and rapid economic develop-ment, social inequality in educational opportunity has resisted change.Such inequalities tend to reproduce themselves between successivecohorts, especially when quantitative socioeconomic opportunityremains limited.

keywords
educational inequality social stratification tracking agecohort social backgroundPhang Hanam S. (Bang Ha-nam) is a senior research fellow at Korea Labor Instituteand an adjunct professor of Sociology at Chung-Ang University. He received his Ph. educational inequality social stratification tracking agecohort social backgroundPhang Hanam S. (Bang Ha-nam) is a senior research fellow at Korea Labor Instituteand an adjunct professor of Sociology at Chung-Ang University. He received his Ph.

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