Early Childhood Education Policies in Korea: Advances in Theory and Practice

Eunhye Park, Minyoung Jang, Seenyoung Park

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Since the first kindergarten and childcare center were introduced with different purposes in the early twentieth century, early childhood education and care (ECEC) has developed in two different systems. Recently, Korea has moved to integrate these two ECEC systems. In this chapter, we will present brief histories and contexts of ECEC in Korea and analyze trends, policies, and issues of accessibility, affordability, accountability, sustainability, and social justice, using the most recent 10-year data published by the governmental agencies. Results indicate that (1) the accessibility to both of kindergartens and childcare centers has increased; (2) the affordability of ECEC has increased as the public spending on ECEC has increased almost ten times over the past decade; (3) Korean government has implemented three systems for ensuring the accountability; (4) Korean government has developed long-term plans for building sustainable ECEC; and (5) under two split systems, the government has not been able to ensure the same quality of ECEC to all children. However, Korean government began to address social justice issues in 2012 by starting to integrate ECEC sectors. Thus, finally, we will show the integrating steps done so far and discuss the next steps for the development of ECEC in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region
ISSN (Print)1573-5397
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9791

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Government grants by age and parent's financial burden of tuition and childcare costs

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017.


  • Childcare Center
  • Childcare Facility
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Enrolment Rate
  • Kindergarten Teacher


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