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Education is regarded with a high priority for South Korean families as success in education is necessary for improving one's socioeconomic position in South Korean society.
Academic success is often a source of pride for families and within South Korean society at large.
With incredible pressure on high school students to secure places at the nation’s best universities, its institutional reputation and alumni networks are strong predictors of future career prospects.
The top three universities in South Korea, often referred to as "SKY", are Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University.
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Education in South Korea is provided by both public schools and private schools.
The system has also been criticized for producing an excess supply of university graduates creating an overeducated and underemployed labor force; in the first quarter of 2013 alone, nearly 3.3 million South Korean university graduates were jobless, leading many graduates overqualified for jobs requiring less education.
Further criticism has been stemmed for causing labor shortages in various skilled blue collar labor and vocational occupations, where many go unfilled as the negative social stigma associated with vocational careers and not having a university degree continues to remain deep-rooted in South Korean society.
International reception on the South Korean education system has been divided.
It has been praised for various reasons, including its comparatively high test results and its major role in ushering South Korea's economic development creating one of the world’s most educated workforces.
Specific policies included: re-educating teachers, lowering functional illiteracy by educating adults, restoration of the Korean language for technical terminology, and expansion of various educational institutions.