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86 percent of South Korean students suffer from schoolwork stress

South Korean students in a recent survey said they were being "forced" to devote hours to independent study and felt guilty about taking breaks.

By Elizabeth Shim
86 percent of South Korean students suffer from schoolwork stress
A recent survey from South Korean nonprofit Asunaro showed that more than 70 percent of South Korean teens feel guilty if they are not studying. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- South Korean high school students devote an average of 12 hours of their day to schoolwork, and more than 70 percent said they "feel guilty" if they take a break, according to a recent survey.

The polling data from South Korean education nonprofit Asunaro surveyed 6,261 students of all ages and revealed South Korean students are constantly stressed about keeping up with schoolwork and competition from their peers, Yonhap reported.

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School does not end for most South Korean students after class is dismissed – and data showed nearly 97 percent of high school students continued to devote time to extra studying at night. Of that number, 40.2 percent said they were being "forced" to devote hours to independent study, and another 67.3 percent of high school students said they were using the weekends to review schoolwork.

South Korean high school students also averaged less than six hours of sleep per night, and 41.3 percent said they felt obligated to stay up past 10 p.m. to do homework.

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A representative of the South Korean nonprofit that conducted the survey said adolescents require between seven and eight hours of sleep for optimum health.

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The study habits among South Korean teens begin early, according to the survey. About 86 percent of elementary school students receive private lessons after classes, as do about 76 percent of middle school students. But the system is taking a toll on young South Koreans: 86 percent of high school students said they are stressed because of school, and 72.8 percent said they feel guilty if they take a break.

South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported a typical 16-year-old student in Seoul said she does not go to bed until 1:30 a.m. because she said she feels required to review lessons until 11 p.m.

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"I watch what my other friends are doing. Then I feel guilty, and so I feel that I need to study some more," the student said.

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