Korean Teenagers Study 8 Hours a Day
By Yoon Ja-young
A student gets up at 6 a.m. and reads the newspaper to get an idea on how to write essays. He goes to school by 7 a.m. and studies English words and does English listening practice for an hour. He attends classes until 1 p.m. and has lunch for an hour. He attends classes for three more hours, and works on a quiz until 5:35 p.m. He watches lectures on EBS TV for an hour before having dinner, studies at school until 9 p.m. and then comes home and continues to study until 12:30 a.m.
This is the daily schedule of a Korean high school student, posted on an Internet cafe where students share their know-how on studies.
A report showed that Korean teenagers are studying 15 hours more than their peers in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries each week. Their academic achievements, however, are not at the top.
According to the National Youth Policy Institute, Korean youngsters aged between 15 and 24 dedicated 49.43 hours to study each week - 15 hours longer than the OECD average of 33.92 hours.
It means they are studying 7 hours and 50 minutes every weekday, while their peers in OECD member countries study around 5 hours.
Adolescents in Finland dedicated 6 hours and 6 minutes, while those in Sweden studied for 5 hours and 55 minutes. Japanese students studied for 5 hours and 21 minutes, and those in the United States and Germany dedicated around 5 hours to study.
Studying deprived them of sleep and exercise as young people slept 7 hours and 30 minutes on average, over an hour less than peers in the United States, Britain or Finland. Koreans spent only 13 minutes a day on physical exercise, while teenagers in the United States spent 37 minutes.
``There should be political support to help teenagers have time for social activities, volunteering, exercise and sleep,'' the institute said.
Despite the long study hours, Korean students were not the best in terms of academic performance.
According to OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2003, conducted on 15-year-old students around its member countries, Finnish students, who studied only 4 hours and 22 minutes during weekdays, only half of what Korean 15-year-olds do, scored higher than Korean students in mathematics.