From documentary maker Kelley Katzenmeyer:
In sixty short years, South Korea went from being one of the poorest countries in Asia to having the world’s 13th largest economy. Korean students have some of the highest test scores in the world, and a higher rate of acceptance into American Ivy Leagues than any other foreign country. But Korea also leads the world in two not quite so stunning ways- the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita, and a higher suicide rate than any other developed nation.
So. What’s life like for a Korean student? In one of the most competitive societies in the world, how does one find their place? What does it take to achieve your aspirations and goals? Our documentary will take a look at the lives of five Korean teenagers on the verge of either reaching- or losing- their dreams. The film will follow the students during the most stressful time of their lives- their last year of high school. After studying for roughly sixteen hours each day, their futures boil down to one last exam. On November 10th, 2011, thousands of high school seniors will take a nine hour test that for many, will determine their economic and social status for the rest of their lives.
Update 1: Also of interest is “Tackling Korean Education’s Faults” at Korea Real Time.
(For all posts in the Korean Sociological Image series, see here)