Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Academic suicide in Korea

Korea is known for it’s diverse culture as well as a very technologically developed countries in the world. According to CNN, 82.7% of the country is uses the internet, where 78.5% of the entire population is on smartphones (as of 2013).

This may all be true, but Korea also struggles with their unusually high rate of suicide among students. According to Wikipedia, Korea has the highest suicide rate for an OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member state. Korean students struggle through their tough schedules every day in order to get into a good university. At the end of each semester of high school in Korea, students must take an exam called the suneung, in November. According to NPR, “It’s so critical that planes are grounded on test day for fear of disturbing the kid.” Students in Korea commit suicide due to high stress levels and feelings of hopelessness, as well as dread of not being good enough at their studies, in order to avoid embarrassing their family.

In Korea, academics are literally the difference between life and death for students. According to NPR, “The 14-hour days in classrooms reflects South Korean society’s powerful focus on educational achievement.” It’s crazy to think that students need to study for 14 hours a day. That would leave only 10 hours to sleep, eat, use the restroom, and have some time to use their bodies to do what they want to do.

At a university called KAIST in Korea, four kids and a professor committed suicide due to the stress of the university. According to The Wall Street Journal, “this high suicide rate at KAIST create chaos because it shows that people at KAIST can fail or be miserable even though they go to the top school.” Even if kids go to a good university, the constant pressure and competition can lead to suicide.

According to AnonHQ, “In 2012, 139 South Korean students committed suicide for these cases: family conflict, depression, and exam stress were the essential triggers.” Parents pressure their children to do well in their studies, but as anyone can see, it causes mental damage and depression. Kids wrote notes saying that they were scared of getting scolded by their parents if they got bad grades. Parents should come up with a new method of teaching their kids to do well in school because safety should always come first.

According to AnonHQ, “In general, fear of parental disappointment and feelings of academic inadequacy are traits shared among the majority of student suicide cases.” Studying hard in high school to get into a good university is everything for Korean students. This is what causes suicide, if they think or know that they aren’t good enough. Some students prefer death over the disappointment that would be otherwise displayed to their parents if they get bad grades.


1 Comment

  • Reply Academic suicide in South Korea – I Have a bad feeling about this? September 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    […] Kang, S. (2014, December 14). Academic suicide in Korea. Retrieved from HS Insider Los Angeles Times: https://highschool.latimes.com/los-angeles-high-school-of-the-arts/academic-suicide-in-korea/ […]


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