Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language, Education, Innovation 2016

Study of The Protection of Undocumented Migrant Children’s Right to Education in South Korea

Jiin Park, Sangwoo Chong

Inha University


This study reviewed the legislation and system concerning migrant children and would propose measures for the protection of undocumented migrant children’s right to education. Recently, in Korean society, with the increase of migrants and their long-term sojourn, the number of migrant children has dramatically increased, and discussions on the education for them are actively made. However, the right to education of ‘undocumented migrant children’ of the migrant children is often not completely protected due to their parents' unstable legal status. As a result of an analysis of the legislation system concerning migrant children, the Enforcement Decree of the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides that undocumented migrant children can enter a school, regardless of their status of sojourn, and the targets of the Policy for the Education of Migrant Children of the Ministry of Education, too, include ‘undocumented migrant children.’ However, in most of the legislation and system, the targets of support for education are limited to the children of migrant women married to Korean men of all migrant children. In addition, essentially, since undocumented migrant children are not guaranteed the status of sojourn for the protection of the right to education, they may be subject to immediate compulsory eviction anytime, if they are cracked down, so complete protection of their right to education is not given. Based on these issues, as measures for the protection of the practical right to education of undocumented migrant children, this study suggested support for nursery phase at the level of local governments, comprehensive support for education for migrant children including undocumented ones and granting status of temporary sojourn to undocumented migrant children and fosterers. Also, this study suggested that, most importantly, it would be necessary to change the way we perceive undocumented migrant children so that we recognize them, too, as the members of our society, along with this institutional improvement.


Undocumented Children, Migrant Children, Education Right, Human Rights, Multi-Cultural Education

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