Elementary science teacher education in Korea: Past, present, and future

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This paper will present how the preservice elementary teacher education institutions have changed, what has become the qualification of teachers, and what is the hiring system. The development process of elementary teacher education institutions in Korea can be classified into four stages. The earliest national training for elementary school teachers started after World War II and continued both during and after the Korean War. From 1951 until 1961, elementary school teachers were required to have completed secondary school. However, from 1962 through to 1980, teachers needed to have completed high school and then be trained in two-year colleges. Finally, starting in 1982, elementary teachers began being trained in four-year universities. From this time, graduate schools began to be founded in national universities to focus on education and to both prepare preservice elementary school teachers to promote inservice teacher professionalism. Currently, there are 13 elementary teacher education institutions in Korea. This paper provides an overview about how science education courses are taught in these institutions and explains the pathways to becoming an elementary school teacher in Korea. Based on this historical review of the elementary teacher education system in Korea, I discuss future directions for continued research and development in primary education, especially in science.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAsia-Pacific Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • Elementary science teacher education
  • History
  • Korea


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