[EDITORIALS]Let foundations run schools

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[EDITORIALS]Let foundations run schools

The leaders of private school associations are strongly opposed to the revised law on private schools that has been proposed by the Uri Party. If the revised bill passes the National Assembly, private school representatives said they would file suit in the Constitutional Court, not admit any students, and close down their schools after their current students graduate.
The reason is that under the governing party’s proposed bill, it will become virtually impossible to sustain private school foundations.
If private schools voluntarily close, the Korean education sector, which relies heavily on private education, would be in a state of panic, as 23.5 percent of middle schools, 46 percent of high schools, 89.9 percent of two-year colleges and 78.9 percent of four-year universities are private.
The Uri Party claims the purpose of the new law is to strengthen the equality and transparency of private schools. But most private schools maintain equality and transparency under the current law and system.
The most malicious provision of the bill pointed out by the private schools is the one on an “open trusteeship” system. Under this provision, one-third of the schools’ boards of directors must be persons recommended by the school operations committee or the college’s board of trustees.
If this system is introduced, the teachers, professors and parents who form the school operations committee or the college board of trustees will gain control of the administration of the schools. It is only logical that school board members be selected by the private school foundations so that they can carry out the wishes of the founders.
If teachers and professors, who are employed by the schools, become board members, it would be the same as having union members involved in running a company. The same holds for the school operations committees. Under the revised bill, they could gain control of schools’ operations and administration. This would mean that groups that have strong organizational skills and a strong voice would dominate private schools.
Schools and universities must maintain some degree of independence. It is only right that the private foundations run their schools according to their own philosophy. Do not take away those rights. Provisions such as an “open trusteeship” system or the elevation of school operations committees must be retracted.
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