School 2013 – Drama – Review

School 2013 Poster

There’s more to life than just studying


Seungri High School ranks as one of the worst of the 178 high schools in Seoul based on academic scores. Seungri High School is now busy preparing presentations for its new students. Class 2 is at the bottom of grade 2 at Seungri High. Nam Soon is elected class president for grade 2, thanks to the support of Jung Ho, who is a member of the school gang.

Se Chan is the top Korean language teacher at a famous institute in Gangnam. In order to improve the student’s scores at Seungri High School, the school hires Se Chan. When Se Chan appears at the school’s opening presentation, Nam Soon becomes embarrassed.

Native and/or alternative titles: 학교 2013; 학교 5; School 5
Year: 2012
Countries: South Korea
Languages: Korean
Genre: Drama, Friendship, Life, School, Youth
Director: Lee Min-Hong, Lee Eung-Bok
Writer: Lee Hyun-Joo, Ko Jung-Won
Cast: Choi Daniel, Jang Na Ra, Lee Jong Suk, Kim Woo Bin, Park Se Young, Kwak Jung Wook, Choi Chang Yeob, Hyo Young, Jun Soo Jin, Ahn Ji Hyun, Gil Eun Hye, Yun Ju Sang, Ahn Hye Kyung


By far one of my most favourite Korean dramas till date. Even though this drama does not have even an iota of romance in it, unless bromance counts, the wonderful portrayal of school-life in a Korean High School and the various emotions and situations that a person goes through in such a fragile age is remarkable. School 2013 beautifully shows the various current social issues which are ailing the Korean Schooling system in today’s day and age. But, not just in Korea, many of these problems and situations can be seen and related to by the people of other countries as well. Covering various issues like school bullying, pressure on students to get the best marks, studying over 15 hours a day in school and after-school coaching centres, delinquents, peer-pressure and other problems faced by teenagers and young adults caught between the delicate line of being adults yet children. One can go through how a teen thinks and processes the situations around them and how sometimes they can show a maturity much beyond their years.

But, this drama does not only focus on the students about also the problem of teaching, teacher-student relations, parent-teacher relations and how the teachers struggle to provide a fruitful education while the education system turning into yet another profit making arena. There are also several touching moments between parents and their children where the two finally come crashing together in a struggle to understand the other’s perspective. Struggling students, passionate teachers, iron-fisted parents, troubled friendships and more, the dreary aspects of all these relationships come forward but always with a positive message that if you don’t give up, good things will happen and to never give up hope. This is a must watch for everyone and comes highly recommended. Some things may be shown in an exaggerated fashion, but the baseline, in my opinion, has definitely come from the truth.

There are two beautiful and motivating poems in this drama that I would like to share with you all. I hope it is inspiring for you as well:

‘Flower’ by Na Tae-Joo (풀꽃 – 나태주)

You have to look closely
to see that it is pretty
You have to look long
to see that it is lovable
You are the same


자세히 보아야
오래 보아야
너도 그렇다

This is a poem that Go Nam Soo says for fellow classmate who is being kicked out of school for having a learning disability and hence bringing down the standards of the school (in some people’s opinions).

Flowers That Bloom when Shaken’ by Do Jong-Hwan (흔들리며 피는 꽃 – 도종환)

Where is that flower that blooms without shaking?
All of the beautiful flowers of this world
they all bloom whilst being shaken
Don’t they all bloom while being shaken?
Where is that love that goes without being shaken?
Where is that flower that blooms without being soaked?
even that radiant flower of this world
Don’t they ll bloom as they get soaked?
Soaked by wind and rain, don’t heart-warming petals bloom?
Where is that life that goes without being soaked?


흔들리지 않고 피는 꽃이 어디 있으랴
이 세상 그 어떤 아름다운 꽃들도
다 흔들리면서 피었나니
흔들리지 않고 가는 사랑이 어디 있으랴
젖지 않고 피는 꽃이 어디 있으랴
이 세상 그 어떤 빛나는 꽃들도
다 젖으며 젖으며 피었다니
바람과 비에 젖으며 꽃잎 따뜻하게 피웠나니
젖지 않고 가는 삶이 어디 있으랴

The teacher brings up this poem for her students who are going through a tough and turbulent age where they are not quite adults and not children anymore but simply caught between leading to shaky and indecisive questions, goals and situation in their second year of high school.

  • Story
  • Acting/Cast
  • Music
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About Poornima

A Korea-phile by nature~ Love everything Asian and originally from India. Fluent in Korean language and knows Chinese language as well. Has Masters in East Asian Studies (with special interest in Korean culture and politics)

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November 27, 2017 8:41 am

School 2013 is one of my favourites! It was rare to see a show where almost all characters were given equal importance. Also, this show puts several issues in light.