42 Seoul: Making IT Education More Accessible in South Korea

42 The Network
3 min readJun 27, 2024


Since opening its doors, 42 Seoul has achieved remarkable milestones. In just five years, the campus has hosted over 20 Piscines. Now able to accommodate up to 2,500 students at a time, 42 Seoul has created an excellent learning environment.

The capital of South Korea, Seoul is a hyper-modern metropolis, spanning over 600 km2 and numbering close to 10 million inhabitants. A dynamic economic and cultural center, the city boasts a wide variety of activities, including one of the largest esports scenes in the world, with events such as matches of Faker or League of Legends. The city is also full of vibrant areas to hangout in with a multitude of parks, bars and restaurants of all kinds.

Kim Jonghun, the head of pedagogy at 42 Seoul recalls:

“In 2019, the government was looking for an innovative education model, and that was 42. It was established in 2019 with 100% government funding and continues to operate with government support to this day.”

42 Seoul was the first 42 campus in Asia. It is situated in Gangnam, an affluent neighborhood of the Korean capital that drew international attention back in 2012 thanks to local singer Psy’s viral “Gangnam Style” hit. Located on the banks of the Yangjaecheon stream (next to which students love taking strolls), the campus also sits just minutes away from a market with all sorts of affordable and delicious food. However, in spite of this success, it was not always smooth sailing.

“We faced a lot of resistance. We marketed ourselves as a school without professors, textbooks, or tuition fees.” Kim Jonghun remembers. In South Korea, a country where academic success is highly valued, and which consistently ranks in the top nations in the PISA rankings, 42’s pedagogy was perceived as something out of this world by the local education sector.

“Educators resisted, questioning, ‘How can an educational model without professors make sense?’ Textbook companies opposed us, asking, ‘How can a school operate without textbooks?’ — Kim JongHun.

On top of the skepticism relating to the pedagogical model, 42 Seoul also drew vast amounts of criticism regarding its economic model. Not only was the school entirely tuition-free, but 42 Seoul also provided a monthly living stipend for each student so they could focus solely on their studies.

Thankfully, while education professionals were skeptical, companies proved very enthusiastic about the project. Over the years, 42 Seoul has managed to sign MOUs with over 50 companies, who, on top of supporting the school financially, provide all sorts of benefits for students.

Looking to the future, 42 Seoul now has ambitions to open two new campuses in South Korea in the near future.



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