[EDITORIALS]Half-finished classrooms

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[EDITORIALS]Half-finished classrooms

The Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education, which recently had to withdraw the assignments of high school freshmen to schools in Suwon, Seongnam, Anyang and Goyang due to a computer glitch, was found to have allocated students to a high school in Bucheon that is still under construction. On Friday, the provincial office assigned 500 students to the school, which will not be completely ready until November. Without a proper area to hold a matriculation ceremony, the school has decided to hold a survival training session instead of a ceremony. And until June, when three floors of the six-floor building will be ready for occupancy, the orphaned students will be crammed into other nearby schools.

The office has refused parents' demands that the students be assigned to another school on the grounds that the construction delays were not its fault. We believe the office has made a mistake. The Bucheon education office says it never expected students to be assigned to the school this year, but the construction company said it was pressed by the provincial office to rush the project and finish it by next month.

The headlong rush to build new schools or additional buildings at schools is a by-product of the government's ambitious project, announced in July, to meet its student-teacher ratio goals a year earlier than the original target date of 2004. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development told the president that it will assign 35 students to each teacher next year. Following the announcement, the nation's schools turned into construction sites. The ministry said that of the schools under construction, 53 percent will be completed by the end of this month and the remainder will be finished by the end of May.

We welcome more classrooms and fewer students per teacher, but the project should not interfere with our children's education. Assigning students to a school which is unfinished helps administrators but hurts students.

Education authorities cannot force students to attend a school whose buildings are not completed just to lower the student-teacher ratio. The provincial office should reassign the students and wait to assign new students to the school when it is complete.

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