2018 GGHS Team 6

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Topic of our team

Goryeo's Civil Service Examination and Educational Institutes

On the 110th anniversary of Korea's founding, Ganghwa Girls' High School held various programs about Goryeo. Among them, we joined a global issue forum camp where we could explore the subjects we wanted in depth. Our team members decided to explore the education of Goryeo because they were all interested in education. Among them, the formal academic institutions of the Goryeo Dynasty, the Gukjagam and the Civil Service Examination. By participating in the 2018 Global Issues Forum Camp, we will be able to explore the education system of Goryeo and its past institutions in a more and more accurate way.

Goryeo's Civil Service Examination

Explanation about the Civil Service Examination

’과거제‘ was the national civil service examinations under the Goryeo. It was at the time of Gwangjong, the fourth king of Goryeo, who started the exam system in goryeo dynasty. King Gwangjong thought that for strengthening the royal power, there should be more people loyal to the king . the ’과거제‘ was first created by the chinise king named munjae who was the king of sunara and after seven years it was introduced to korea by the then minister named Ssanggi So, he accepted the suggestion of 쌍기 Chinese students and put the exam system in place. this is how, he he selected officials of high level for his kingdom. Also the Goryeo's Civil Service Examination had the following characteristics. The first point to point out is that no 'military examination' were implemented. Although it was installed in 1390 (The third year of gongyang reign) and it actually happened during the Joseon Dynasty. Even in the period of atheism , no 'military examination was implemented. They selected people with outstanding military skills and physical conditions and added them to the team without any training. He formed a unique priestly relationship between an examination administrator, and a person who passed the exam, by forming a unique relationship with a priest called mentor and munsaeng. In the Civil Service Examination, it was a test selected by the king, but because it was not possible to do so, a examiners were used. They are two examiner called examination administrator and associate examiner. The relationship between the examiner and tester continued throughout whole life. Their relationship gradually escalated. In addition to the Civil Service Examination, which values the ability of individuals, the protected appointment, which values family lineage, was implemented simultaneously. The system made them were able to transmission by heredity of job.

이 사진은 고려 과거제도가 시행되는 모습을 담고 있습니다.

Background of the Civil Service Examination

It was the ninth year of Gwangjong (958 years) of Goryeo that the system was first introduced to Korea. This is 371 years after it was implemented in China. Taking the suggestion of a naturalized Ssanggi, Kwang-jong introduced a system of recruiting new talents according to Confucian scholarship and ability. Kwang-jong also needed power who was loyal to him and Goryeo, while controlling those from the vested interest. In the civil service, the system was the most suitable way to recruit that who has no power but has capacity. It was implemented with the aim of strengthening its sovereign power beyond the traditional pro-ethnic regime and achieved the desired results.

System of the Civil Service Examination
|섬네일|System of the Civil Service Examination]]

System of the Civil Service Examination

In civil service examination, the main part of the examination system was civil service literary examinations, but there were also Miscellaneous Examination and monk examination After passing the exam, a Buddhist monk could become an official. However, It is hard to say that officer of the crown was selected based on its ability because it also implemented protected appointment that enables the administration to become an officer of the crown without taking civil service examination. The law allowed above the rank of commoner to apply in the civil service examination, but the classic examination and composition examination was mostly applied by the nobles and local functionary. Composition Examination focused on literary talent and policy, and Classics examination focused on understanding the canon. Miscellaneous Examination was a test to select technical centers for law, accounting, and geography

이 사진은 고려 과거제도의 세부 체계를 나타낸 것 입니다.

Goryeo's educational institutes

Explanation about educational institutes

  • Royal Academy(Kukjagam)

Royal Academy(Kukjagam) is a public educational institution same as national university. There are many interesting features about Royal Academy. The same three headings are taught but the qualifications for admission were different. Master and assistant taught the three headings. With the development of private schools, public schools have weakened at the period of Munjong. So Yejong changed the name of the royal academy from Kukjagam to Kukhak. There are difference according to which king is in power.

  • Local Confucian academy(Hyanggyo)

Local Confucian academy(Hyanggyo) is also a public educational institution to teach confucianism in local. If you want to understand why the Local Confucian academy is necessary, you have to know the background history. After Wang Gun, the kings of Goryeo tried to organize a political power structure based on confucianism, the new political ideology. In this trend of history, the political will to diffuse confucianism to base society was appeared. That’s why the necessity of Local Confucian academy was increased.

Goryeo's private school and it's influence on the Civil Service Examination

Mun-heon-gong-do is also called Lord Chancellor Ch’oe’s Disciples. In the middle of the Goryeo period, Choichung set up a Nine Hall Institute. Therefore, when the Public education was shrinked, Goryeo tried to promote the national studies by putting 7 items and Fund for Nurturing Worthies into Royal Academy. In the year 1068, when choi died, nation gave him the title of 'mun-heon', and his follower named his school after ‘mun-heon’. Mun-heon-gong-do had became a representative position of 12 do and was passed down to the Late Goryeo Dynasty. In the Military Rule, Lee Seungjang studied at sol-seong-jae of Mun-heon-gong-do, and Yi Kyu Bo also attended ‘ seong-myeong-jae’ ,in Mun-heon-gong-do, at the age of 14. In Goryeo biography, 12 do including Mun-heon-gong-do were in an equal position with the Royal Academy, but Late Goryeo Dynasty, With the implementation of the Royal Academy revival policy, It was demoted and serving as the middle location between district school and Royal Academy and was abolished in 1391(The third year of gongyang reign)

Originality and Value of Royal Academy of Goryeo

It has a complex structure from the central elite, usually called the international school, to the lower level of education programs, local educational institutions, and auxiliary history. The Royal Academy student was given the privilege of taking the test in the Civil Service Examination. In the test, applicants had to pass a national preliminary test and then pass a national re-examination, Royal Confucian Academy examination. However, after studying for three years in school, The Royal Academy students were exempted from preliminary tests regardless of their grades, and were able to apply in the test through direct monitoring. Furthermore, those with good academic records were exempted from the first or second chapters of the test as well as surveillance. The king, who emphasized Confucianism as the center of education, emphasized Chinese culture during his reign.During the reign of the king, who emphasized inner culture and Buddhism, institutional education tended to slow and private education developed


We are all students who dream of education. Goryeo dynasty started in 918 and this year is 2018. In commemoration of the 1,100 year of the foundation of the Goryeo, the theme we have prepared is " Goryeo's Civil Service Examination, and various educational institutions, including the Royal Academy " Goryeo was a very important subject in the history of education and well developed not only in central educational institutions like Kukjagam, the loyal academy but also in local educational institutions and private institutes such as Local Confucian academy(Hyanggyo). Especially, private school and public school kept each other in check. So, They can both develop and get better. There are lots of things to learn in Goryeo’s education. We can learn and feel a lot from Goryeo sources who were interested in education.

Our Project report

Report : Goryeo's Civil Service Examination and Educational Institutes


2 Goryeo's Civil Service Examination





3 Goryeo's educational institutes