Tour Guide Andong Tourism

Tour Guide Andong Tourism
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Seowon and Hyangyo Educational facilities in Joseon dynasty
Seowon were the most common educational institution of Korea during the mid- to late Joseon Dynasty. They were private institutions, and combined the functions of a Confucian shrine and a preparatory school. In educational terms, the seowon were primarily occupied with preparing students for the national civil service examinations. In most cases, seowon served only pupils of the aristocratic yangban class. The Hyanggyo were government-run provincial schools established separately during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and Joseon Dynasty (July 1392 - August 1910), but did not meet with widespread success in either dynasty. They were officially closed near the end of the Joseon Dynasty, in 1894, but many were reopened as public elementary schools in 1900.

In the Joseon Dynasty, hyanggyo were established in every bu, mok, daedohobu, dohobu, gun, and hyeon (the last corresponding roughly to the size of modern-day cities and counties). They served primarily the children of the yangban, or ruling elite upper-class. Education was oriented toward the gwageo, or national civil service examinations. Although such education was in high demand, the hyanggyo were ultimately unable to compete with the privately run seowon and seodang.

What a difficult exam! Gwageo
The gwageo (or kwago) were the national civil service examinations under the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties of Korea. Typically quite demanding, these tests measured candidates' knowledge of the Chinese classics, and sometimes also of technical subjects. These were the primary route for most people to achieve positions in the aristocracy.

Based on the civil service examinations of imperial China, the gwageo first arose in Unified Silla, gained importance in Goryeo, and were the centerpiece of most education in the Joseon Dynasty. The tutelage provided at the hyanggyo, seowon, and Seonggyungwan was aimed primarily at preparing students for the gwageo and their subsequent career in government service. Under Joseon law, high office was closed to those who were not children of officials of the second full rank or higher, unless the candidate had passed the gwageo. Those who passed the higher literary examination came to monopolize all of the dynasty's high positions of state.