Korean youth have faced formidable challenges due to the highly competitive, college-entrance-oriented school curriculum. This has led to them ranking the lowest in the happiness index among OECD countries for five consecutive years.

The increasing suicide rates among the youth, often linked to school violence and academic pressures, emerged as a critical social issue in 2012. This disturbing trend sparked a national conversation about alternative educational methods, prompting a reassessment of Korea’s educational paradigm and a push for more robust character education.

Responding to this urgent need, IBREA facilitated the Mental Health Symposium for Youth in 2013 and 2014. These symposiums showcased successful implementations of Brain Education, spotlighting its effectiveness as an innovative approach to character-focused education.

Since its inception in 2007, the Happy School Campaign has been adopted by over 600 schools. The symposium highlighted inspiring success stories, demonstrating how Brain Education has fostered emotional regulation and self-awareness in students, leading to a transformation in school culture towards empathy and mutual respect. These accounts substantiated Brain Education’s efficacy as a viable pedagogical strategy for augmenting character education.

A notable presentation at the 2013 symposium in Seoul was by the principal of El Salvador’s Joaquin Rodezno School. They shared the profound impact of Brain Education on Salvadoran youth, a result of the 2012-13 Brain Education project in El Salvador. This case study captured the attention of educational experts and the media, reinforcing the Happy School Campaign’s significance and serving as a model for educational improvement.

Event Overview

2013 Mental Health Symposium for Youth

  • Theme: Exploring the nexus of the brain and education for fostering happiness
  • Period: August – November 2013
  • Organized by: IBREA
  • Supported by: Korean Ministry of Education, Brain Trainer Association
  • Host Cities: Daegu, Inchon, Cheongju, Busan, Seoul

2014 Mental Health Symposium for Youth

  • Theme: Brain Education’s role in character development – Insights from neuroscience
  • Period: May-June 2014
  • Organized by: IBREA
  • Supported by: Ministry of Education, Youth Mental Health and Character Education Association, Brain Trainer Association
  • Host Cities: Ulsan, Daejeon, Sooncheon

Highlighted Field Cases from the Symposium

“The Dawn of the Brain-Centric Era: A Hopeful Outlook on Brain Education”
– Nah-Ok Kim, Vice President of IBREA ▶Watch on YouTube

“Flourishing Brain Education in El Salvador”
– Gloria Muller, Principal of Joaquin Rodezno School, El Salvador ▶Watch on YouTube

“Countering School Violence: Strategies and Successes”
– Teacher Yoon-Seong Lee from Hyeongseok High School, Chungbuk, Korea ▶Watch on YouTube

“Fostering a School Environment Rooted in Care and Communication”
– Principal Young-Soon Song of Gangnam Middle School, Ulsan City, Korea ▶Watch on YouTube

“Creating a Happy School through a Brain-Friendly Environment”
– Teacher Seo-Young Yoon from Youpyung Elementary School, Daejeon City, Korea ▶Watch on YouTube

“Revitalizing Educators: A Healing Camp for Teachers”
– Byung-Jin Ko, Representative of the Hongik Teacher’s Association ▶Watch on YouTube

“Global Trends – Why Brain Education is Essential in the 21st Century’s Integrative Education System?”
– Professor Tae-Min Ha of Global Cyber University ▶Watch on YouTube