Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Language, Innovation, Culture and Education 2015
ISBN 978-967-13140-8-1

Physical Education programs in Korea – Mistakenly Undervalued

Joseph Trolan

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea


Korea is well known throughout Asia and beyond as having a highly competitive educational system. The concept of the “tiger” mom is apt for Korean mothers who demand the most from their children in relation to education. These mothers spend enormous amounts of money on afterschool programs in an attempt to improve their children’s test scores and as such children often spend 10+ hours daily on education. This leaves little time for other activities such as organized sport or recreational physical activities. Thus, Korean students are not getting an all round education and are becoming less healthy because of an undervaluing of physical education classes in schools. Indeed, Korean students from a young age are widely known to have a higher level of stress about their education than many of their contemporaries and this can and does lead to potential health issues. A valued and structured physical education program in schools can, according, researchers such as Ahn & Fedewa, 2011; Fisher, 2005; Hardman, 2008; Sibley & Etnier, 2003; help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve physical conditions, and cognitive functioning. While there are of course negative aspects of competitive sports, physical education when done correctly can help to encourage more positive lifestyle choices from childhood to adulthood. Therefore, it is important for Korean schools to reexamine the importance and impact of physical education. This paper will analyze school policies towards Physical Education and recommend actions to show that a greater importance on physical education can help improve Korean students overall health and lifestyle.


Education, Physical Education, Importance, and Health

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