Korea, School Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Korea, School Records, 1958
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Flag of Korea (1899).jpg
Flag of the Korean Empire, 1897-1910
LOC Korea in Asia map.jpg
Record Description
Record Type: School
Collection years: 1958
Languages: Korean
Title in the Language: 한국 학교 기록
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Song Man Oh, Jeollabuk-do

Why Should I Look at This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Koreans have traditionally attached great importance to education, a view that continues to this day. According to ancient history texts, formal education in Korea began during the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-A.D.668) under the influence of the Chinese educational system.

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It was in 372 that a state-operated institute for higher education known as T'aehak (National Confucian Academy) was established in the Koguryo Kingdom (37 B.C.-A.D.668). A similar institution for higher education named Kukh'ak (National Confucian College) was set up in 682 during the Shilla Kingdom (57 B.C.-A.D.935). Shilla also established a unique training system called the hwarangdo (The way of "Flower of Youth Corps"), to educate the elite youth of the aristocratic class. Thehwarangdo proved instrumental in unifying the Korean Peninsula in the seventh century. The Paekche Kingdom (18 B.C.-A.D.660) also emphasized education and produced numerous scholars in various academic disciplines, many of whom made important contributions to early Japanese culture.

Higher education in all these kingdoms tended to be focused on the study of Chinese classics. Although the succeeding Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) adopted Buddhism as its state religion, Confucian studies continued to have a major influence on academic circles and the educational system. The institutionalization of the civil service examination in the mid-10th century set the pattern for educational reform, by directing the role of education toward preparing young men for public service. Koryo founded a state institution for higher education called Kukchagam (National University) in 992 in its capital, Kaesong. It was also about that time that the central government began to dispatch scholars to provincial areas to implement education for local residents.

By the late 14th century, however, Buddhism gradually declined. The founders of the Choson Dynasty (1392-1910) turned to Confucianism instead as the source of basic principles for national politics, ethics and social institutions. The highest educational institution during the Choson period was the Songgyungwan (National Confucian Academy), which also served as the center of Confucian studies. On the secondary level, there were two kinds of schools: haktang in the capital of Hanyang (today's Seoul) and hyanggyo in villages. Private schools called sodang carried out primary education.

Education during the Choson Dynasty was mainly viewed as a means to prepare young aristocratic men for future public service. Examinations in the Chinese classics were the major criteria for qualification. This tradition has survived as the backbone of Korean education system until the late 19th century, when Korea opened its door to the West.

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This is a collection of school records from Korea for 1958. Images will be published as they become available.

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These records are in Korean, written using Chinese hanja characters. For help reading the records, see the following resources:

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The following information may be found in these records:

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