[EDITORIALS]Economics background vexingUri Party Representative Kim Jin-pyo has been selected as the new deputy prime minister of education. It is surprising that a former deputy prime minister of finance and economy was chosen as the leading educational figure.
So far, such people as university presidents and professors served as education ministers but they failed to solve many educational problems.
It is a matter of speculation how a minister with an economics background can satisfy the people’s diverse educational needs. Educational circles and civic groups are already opposed to the appointment of Mr. Kim. They express concern that education will be handled from an economic perspective.
The Blue House explained that Mr. Kim is the right person to handle educational reform. It said universities in Korea have failed to produce talents wanted by businesses and society. It said while there are many universities, few graduates are welcomed by businesses. The curriculums of universities are far from what the industry wants.
Considering such problems as detailed by the Blue House, a minister like Mr. Kim may be helpful. We can expect that he can reform universities according to market principles so that they can become more competitive.
But university education is not the only problem area in Korean education. There are many educational issues an education minister should solve, including untrustworthy elementary and secondary school education and the exodus of young students abroad.
An education minister should develop policies to normalize the devastated public education system of the nation. The reform of the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union that is engaged in biased teachings of particular ideologies is another issue the minister should take care of.
Mr. Kim, while he was the deputy prime minister of finance and economy, said he would establish more special-purpose high schools in the less affluent Gangbuk area to stabilize the housing prices of the Gangnam area. The remark makes sense in that the high housing prices of Gangnam are related to the high educational demand in that area.
But the Education Ministry at the time opposed Mr. Kim, saying that he approached education from an economic perspective. It is a matter of speculation how Mr. Kim ― who does not have a background in education ― can solve such conflicts.