International Schools - Admission Criteria
FOREIGN vs INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS in Korea
While the terms are often used interchangeably in Korea, there is an important difference between foreign and international schools. Unfortunately, that difference does not reflect common usage of the terms around the world nor is it reflected in the names of the schools that have already established campuses around the world and have recently (in the last decade) come to Korea.
A 'foreign' school's mandate is apparently to serve the needs of foreign (expat) students and enrollment to eligibile ethnic Koreans is limited to 30% of authorized enrollment, while an 'international' school has no limits on the number of ethnic Korean students.
Note that the schools themselves use the two terms in their name as per their 'personal' preference and so the school name is not indicative of the legal status of the school.
ELIGIBILITY for Foreign Schools:
The Korean Ministry of Education mandates that 70% of students in international/foreign schools must be foreign nationals and that students attending international/foreign schools must meet at least of one of the following conditions:
1. At least one of the student's parents must have citizenship in a country other than the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as verified by an Alien Registration Card and Korean Family Registry*, or
2. The student must have lived overseas for no less than 3 years (1,095 days) as verified by the "Entry and Exit Certificate" issued by the Korean immigration department.
3. The student, who maintains intial enrollement eligibility, is currently enrolled at an accredited international school in Korea.
4. A student transferring from another r international school in Korea must satisfy the above requirement as well.
*A person with dual nationalities is deemed to be Korean if one of those nationalities is Korean under Korean law if including that of Korea (whether a parent or child) is deemed as Korean under Korean law.
How the percentage ethnic Korean vs forein students is calculated is open to interpretation as the regulations are not specific in their definitions. (Note: Korean laws/regulations are often written in a somewhat vague language thus allowing for case-by-case interpretation and enforcement; this is also a characteristic of the Korean language which can make it challenging to translate to languages that are inherently more specific.)
In some instances, the 30% has been applied to the school's capacity (the maximum number of students it can accomodate) while others insist that it applies to the school's current enrollment. There has even been talk of applying the 30% to each class in a school.
Some internatinal schools may also have specific academic requirements. Many of Korean's international schools are committed to admitting the brightest and best as one of their goals is to assure parents that their child/children can get into the best schools when they leave Seoul or when they graduate.
Only a limited number of special needs students can be admitted to Korean international schools, for a number of reasons. So, prior, to agreeing to come to Korea, you will want to verify that your special needs child can be admitted to an international school, and also if yes, that s/he will get the assistance s/he needs. The school may not be in a position to hire qualified foreign staff due to immigration or other government regulations.
Most international schools have a limited number of spaces available for children who do not speak the primary language of the schools. Because of the number of nationalities wanting admission, this is especially true for English-language inernational schools. Again, immigration or other regulations may restrict the school's ability to hire a sufficient number of staff to meet ESL instruction needs.
K4E Editor: Korea4Expats.com tries to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and complete, so should you notice any errors or omissions in the content above please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated on 2019-09-04
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