[EDITORIALS]Don’t make a hasty moveThe Grand National Party and the Democratic Labor Party have expressed their opposition to the proposals by National Assembly Chairman Kim One-ki for amending the law on private schools. The Democratic Party said it would conditionally accept the ideas, while the governing Uri Party seemed displeased that the proposals did not include legislation on councils for teachers, parents and students.
The Grand Nationals maintain that unless the Assembly deliberates the bill on independent private high schools it has proposed, the party will not agree to Mr. Kim’s proposals. The Korea Private School Foundation Association also opposes the plan.
Mr. Kim’s suggestions included an open-door policy in hiring members of the boards of directors for private school foundations, whereby one third would be outsiders. Mr. Kim also said school management committees would recommend candidates for the boards, and the number of candidates recommended will be double the number of people required on the boards. This is the difference with the Uri Party’s suggestion.
If school management committees force their choices of candidates, they could possibly infringe upon the school foundations’ rights to make their own personnel decisions. Given the current education system, this open-door hiring practice would mean that umbrella educational organizations such as the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union could wield excessive control over schools’ management.
The association said if the amendment passes, it will not assign new students to schools next year and will consider closing down schools. The group is also planning a demonstration in front of the National Assembly building next week.
If the amendment is forced through, it could mean further chaos for the nation’s private educational institutions. The government’s new teacher evaluation system has already caused tension, and any more conflict could cast a dark cloud over academia.
There is no reason to rush the amendment. The Uri Party said the open-door hiring procedure for boards of directors is necessary to help eliminate corruption, but that can be done with the current laws. The government should instead focus on other problems, such as the conflict with the teachers’ union and its education equalization principle. The parties, Education Ministry, and private schools have plenty of time to work out their differences. Mr. Kim should not abuse his authority and submit his ideas prematurely.