Rethinking South Korea's educational development in terms of students' agency in career choice making

Kim, Hyunyoung (2022) Rethinking South Korea's educational development in terms of students' agency in career choice making. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Many scholars and policymakers interested in national development argue that education has been the driving force behind the rapid and unprecedented economic growth of South Korea. In terms of quantitative and qualitative development which is presented in entrance rates and PISA and TIMSS rankings, South Korean education has had many tangible achievements. South Korea’s education which has been on the path of growth and development for over 70 years, is now headed toward entering university. The education system and excessive education fever focus on university entrance.

Today, at the end of high school education (nearly 100 per cent of teenagers complete high school courses), 7 out of 10 students choose to go to university as their following career path. This thesis aims to understand that choice and its implications by using the Capability Approach (CA) supplemented with a Self-determination Theory (SDT) to investigate students’ motivation and agency.

The rationale for using the CA lies in its ability to offer an alternative analysis in which to scrutinise in a detailed manner what agency means in the choice issue. It focuses on what each individual’s valuable doings and beings in making meaningful choices from a range of options in their life. SDT, integrated alongside the CA, offers a measurement of an agency that reveals whether students’ exercised agency is indeed autonomous. The CA and SDT that this thesis develops will be contextualised with qualitative data collected from 81 1styear university students in South Korea in 2019. The analyses will demonstrate how students are motivated to choose and how they determine themselves as autonomous agents in choice-making. By understanding students’ choices in this way, holistic explanations of students’ perceptions of choice can be made, potentially suggesting future practices and policies regarding students’ agency issues in South Korea’s education development.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Kitty Laine
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2022 16:45
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2022 16:45


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