Teachers' salaries in korea, 1985 to 2007: An in-depth analysis and policy recommendations

Ee Gyeong Kim, You Kyung Han, Jung Shin Park

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1 Scopus citations


Attracting and retaining high quality teachers is a main factor in enhancing educational quality, and salary is an important variable in attracting such teachers to the teaching profession. This paper attempts to analyze both the level and structure of salaries provided to the Korean elementary school teachers between 1985 and 2007. The results show that while the nominal teacher salary has increased during the last 22 years, the substantial teacher salary has drastically decreased vis-à-vis the growth of GDP per capita. The proportion of the basic salary in total salary, particularly that of beginning teachers, is relatively low despite the gradual increase over time. What these results imply is that the level of teacher salary in Korea is beginning to lose its former attractiveness, since it relies on a structure not conducive to attracting excellent new teachers. To solve this problem, along with the effort of increasing the total amount of teacher salary, it will be necessary to raise the efficiency by revising the existing salary system, which is seniority-oriented and excessively dependent on allowances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-112
Number of pages24
JournalKEDI Journal of Educational Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Elementary teachers
  • Korean teachers
  • Teacher policy
  • Teacher salaries


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