[EDITORIALS]Kim keeps changing tackEducation Minister Kim Jin-pyo announced at a press conference on Monday that the ministry will suspend its plan to increase independent private high schools. Mr. Kim had said that he would expand the number of independent private high schools. His repeatedly changing his words is disappointing.
Mr. Kim, a former finance minister, is known to value free competition and market principles. As finance minister, he argued several times for the establishment of independent private high schools. In December last year, Mr. Kim, as education minister, said, “More independent high schools should be set up.” However, after President Roh Moo-hyun referred to the polarization problem in his New Year’s Address this year and the Blue House and the governing Uri Party opposed the plan, saying, “independent private high schools equal aristocratic schools,” his attitude completely changed.
When Mr. Kim, who had no previous experience in the educational sector, became the head of the education ministry last year, many media articles welcomed him. Since he argued that we should “increase competitiveness by opening the education market,” he was expected to bring a fresh change to the educational sector, which had been smothered by a monotonous “equalizing” theory.
However, right now, one year and two months after he took office, what has he done? He is following the administration’s argument rather than leading educational reform. What should we think of him who, as finance minister, often said, “I will intensify the competitiveness of the service industry by loosening the regulations on private schools,” but now seems eager to support the revision to the private school law, which damages the self-governance of private school foundations.
The head of the education ministry should have a clear educational philosophy and provide long-term educational policy. We are tired of saying, “Do not follow the preference of the administration but set educational policy according to your own philosophy.” We remember that in the past some education ministers resigned because they could not realize their philosophies.