10 Unlike Rules That Make Korean School Different

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If we think about ‘school rules’, mostly stereotype things come into mind, like coming to campus on time, wide awake and attentive in class. Most countries give their students almost three-month summer vacation. Dress code is mandatory to follow. School timings are mostly 8-2. It would not be a shock to hear that some countries make and follow their own rules. Some may make you thankful for where you are.

South Korea is famous for having very hardworking students. From what I have seen, it’s not easy to compete in this country. Their studies just another level. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate all hard-working students who work their ass off to get the bright future they deserve. Here are 10 shocking and unlikely rules that make schools in South Korea different than our rules.

1. No Shoes

You might have heard of Asian tradition for taking off shoes before entering the house. This is a sign of respect. Korean take the matter of respect very seriously, hence, the taking off shoe tradition goes beyond the boundaries of the house. Students, as well as staff, are not at any case allowed to wear normal street footwear in the school premises. There must be special slippers to wear. And no, the school does not provide them, every student has to bring their own. You can say that bringing slippers is part of the uniform? Don’t have slippers? Good luck spending your day in your socks or barefoot. If the event is big and parents have to attend, the school provide special blue covering for the shoes.

2. Bathroom Rules

They are really strange if you read them first. After thinking a bit about them, not so much. When in other schools, the school is responsible to provide things such as paper towel or toilet paper in the bathroom. Things go a little different in South Korea. Every class has their own paper towels, which the student takes before going to the bathroom. So it is only one chance. There can be many reasons why they do it. Maybe because to save the school funds and to stop the students to drain the whole roll.

3. School Uniform

Korean School Uniform

It’s mandatory for the majority of secondary students on South Korea to wear the uniform called ‘Gyobok’. The uniform is strictly monitored. The uniform consists of a shirt and a blazer. Tie and skirt for the girls and trousers for boys. Besides the uniform, another thing which is considered in the dress code is the proper hair. The students are not allowed to die their hair, they should be of the natural colour they have, black. The hair length for the girls is around the shoulder length and for boys, the ears should not be covered. Not any type of jewellery and makeup is allowed.

4. Five Year Teacher-Principal Rotation

This is rather interesting. According to the principal, all the staff member of the school gets changes every five years. And by staff, including all the teachers and the vice principal even the principal. They go through a lottery type system to change the school. They can end up in the school with a good reputation or a bad one. In fact, there are many model schools in South Korea that the teachers want to work in and get in a facility much better than before. The learning process is a serious matter of South Korea and this principle allows the teacher a vast experience that enables them to do better.

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5. Take Out Trash

You would probably have the cleaning staff at your school (if you are not from Korea) and only have to worry about studies. The case in South Korea is a little different. South Koreans emphasise not only on education but also moral values that can be learned in school. Every student is supposed to perform their duty in helping to clean their school. They have to vacuum their classes, dust the furniture, scrub the blackboards (or whiteboards, whatever is available), the hallways even the stairs and lastly take out the trash. Thankfully, the toilet cleaning staff is available. This may sound very astonishing to you but a lot of things can be taught to the students by this act. Firstly, the sense of responsibility. Second, teamwork. The list can be followed by developing habits of cleanliness and respecting the person doing this work.

6. Extra Lessons

Extra Lessons


This is one of the major features of this country. When it comes to the international test, South Korea gives a handful of high achievers. This is probably due to 12 hours plus Saturdays study and the double shift on weekdays. This is absolutely norman there. The routine goes with the start of school at 7:30 a.m, and there is lunch time at 1′ o clock. 5’o clock the school ends and self-study session or special classes start. At 7 p.m, dinner is served for an hour. The session starts again at 8 p.m till 10 p.m. Those who are not high achievers can leave, they sometimes take private tutoring. The high achievers get to stay in the school. Most of these students live in a dorm provided. The students gather in the dorm for group study. The teachers in the dorm force you to stay awake and study. So yeah.

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7. Sleeping In Class

When in other cases, sleeping in class is considered highly frowned upon and strictly forbidden, it’s likely that you would find many students in class sleeping. The teachers, in fact, let them have a nap in class. This is because the students have a pretty tough schedule and don’t get much sleep. They can probably cover all in the extra classes they take.

8. No Homecoming Event

In countries like the US, there is an event at the end of the year that is greatly anticipated. This is the time when the students get to get dressed up, have a date and enjoy the most important event of high school. In contrast, there are no such events in South Korea. There are no special student societies that arrange such parties. The idea is to go home and celebrate in your own way.

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9. Punishment

Every school have their own systems of punishment for their students who don’t do things they are told to do. Even the bullies that need to get their discipline doze whenever the line is crossed. These punishments can go up to detention, writing a line thousand times saying I would not fire the teachers with spitballs’. As mentioned before the learning is an important part of the Korean culture. Hence, the scale of the punishments ranges from a slap to the face to a stick across the legs. Every school have their own rules of punishments.

10. Limited Vacations

For the schools around the world, the students enjoy and anticipate the days known as ‘summer vacations’.  The school is closed at this time of the year for many reasons. One that it’s way too hot to sit in the class and study. Besides, there are many great things to do such as enjoying on the beach or hanging out with friends. Hence it’s the time when the school is closed, which opens back in the fall. But in South Korea, the school starts in March until February of the next year. Then there is a month of vacations. You can imagine what the students do in those semester breaks. There is also a small break that consists of two major holidays. One is called ‘Chousoek’ the other ‘Lunar or Chinese New Year’ where everyone gets three to five days break.


What do you think? Pretty hard-working students right.


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