[EDITORIALS]A hands-off ministerThere are several issues related to the education system that need to be addressed, such as the standardization of high school curriculums, the new education information system and public school meals programs.
With problems in the education system surfacing as prominent social issues, it would be only natural for the Ministry of Education and Human Resources to step up with a solution, but there is hardly a trace of Minister of Education and Human Resources Yoon Deok-hong these days. Other government agencies and organizations are offering their ideas on education-related issues.
The Ministry of Finance and Economy has proposed the establishment of special-purpose high schools and independent high schools in newly developed cities as a measure to curb the steep rise of apartment prices in Seoul’s Gangnam area. Underlying this proposal is the analysis that the standardization of high schools has made many parents prefer the Gangnam area, where the educational conditions are better than average. The education minister refused to comment on this proposal, but met Kim Jin-pyo, the finance minister, to complain that it was “improper” for him to talk about education.
For the Ministry of Finance and Economy to offer its ideas on education shows the depth of the problem. A proper reaction would have been to check whether proper manpower for a changing economy is being provided and to address the ill effects of standardization.
The dispute over whether to adopt the new education information system is getting worse as national college entrance examination day approaches. Universities and colleges want to use it; union teachers refuse to enter data into it. But the Education Ministry seems to have kept its hands off, leaving it to the prime minister’s office to fix it. And the Education Ministry has left it to the prime minister to deal with food poisoning incidents at some schools.
Minister Yoon was criticized for his wavering attitude in the heated dispute over the education information system last spring. Since then, he has solved none of these problems. What is the education minister doing?