South Korean Human Rights Monitor


Children of Multicultural Families in South Korea Quit School

Ji-Su Park July 2, 2012

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Justice of South Korea, 7 out of 10 immigrant children are not attending middle schools or high schools. The term “immigrant children” (중도입국 자녀) refers to foreign-born children from multicultural families who come to South Korea with their parents. Their parents are often comprised of remarried foreign women and/or foreign migrant workers.

By the end of 2011, there were approximately 3,034 immigrant children of school age (adolescents) in South Korea. Of these children, it was found that only 948 children (31.2%) went to schools that offered formal education. Experts point out that it is extremely difficult for immigrant children to adjust to Korean schools due to reasons such as language barrier and culture shock.

Experts, however, emphasize the fact that the biggest challenge for immigrant children is racial and/or ethnic discrimination they face in schools. According to a 2010 survey carried out by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, 26.7% of immigrant children responded that they felt a strong urge to quit school when Korean students looked down on them just because they were foreigners.

Unfortunately, there are only 7 alternative schools in South Korea that are officially recognized by the government to offer special education for multicultural children, and these institutions only accept about 580 students.

“Since the current system is extremely complicated and difficult for foreigners to enter schools in Korea, many immigrant children of multicultural families do not go to school at all. Also, bullying at schools is a significant problem. Korea needs more alternative schools for these children,” said Lee Hee-yong, the principal of All Love Multicultural School (다애다문화학교) in Seoul.






About Author

Ji-Su Park

Ji-Su Park has been an intern at the Korea Human Rights Foundation since May 2010. Her duties at the KHRF include human rights monitoring and researching on gender and development. She is studying Sociology and Political Science at Wellesley College. As a rising senior, Ji-Su will be working on her honors thesis on multiculturalism in South Korea. At Wellesley, she is the editor-in-chief of GenerAsians magazine and is involved with Wellesley-in-Translation, which provides a free translation service for non-profit organizations. She is interested in social entrepreneurship, and is the current campus director of Styleta at Wellesley. View all posts by Ji-Su Park →

  • Steph

    I really feel sorry for the Multicultural kids who face racism and violence on schools. Korea should stop promoting Mail Order Brides to stop the racism to be honest.

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!