[EDITORIALS]Replace, don’t reshufflePresident Roh Moo-hyun is reported to plan to replace the minister of finance and economy, the education minister, the minister of planning and budget and the chief presidential secretary for national policy.
Minister of Education Kim Jin-pyo yesterday expressed his intention to resign, while apologizing for a massive outbreak of food poisoning from school meals. Minister of Finance and Education Han Duk-soo is also reported to have offered to resign last week. The resignations of these two ministers were actually foreseen by many.
The two ministers ― who were in charge of two key sectors in the administration ― have displayed incompetence and a lack of determination.
The economy minister has failed to revive the economy, while hanging on to an unsuccessful real estate policy. The education minister lacked both a vision for education and professional knowledge, and has simply taken measures aimed at pleasing the Blue House. Thus, he has brought chaos to education.
If we understand clearly why both ministers failed, we can see exactly what type of people should be appointed this time. Minister Han failed to revive the economy in his 16 months in office and has not presented any leadership. He has not tried to increase jobs or investments but has been too busy simply following the real estate policy that the Blue House initiated.
The new economy minister should be able to take a lead in carrying out practical measures in order to revive the economy and increase jobs. The new head should also be able to persuade the president and the people on the basis of his conviction, rather than just play along with the administration.
Although Minister of Education Kim has presented many measures, including an evaluation system for teachers, he failed to complete any of them because he could not stand firm in the face of opposition or pressure by the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union. While trying to adopt measures or hiring practices that the Blue House would accept, he made the people lose their trust in education policy.
During the Roh administration, the education minister has already been replaced four times. Thus, education measures have changed drastically and the education system has been damaged.
The most urgent task for a new education minister is to abandon the existing practice of hiring people on the basis of their ideology. Only those people who have a clear vision for education and professional administrative skills and knowledge can earn trust from the people.
However, concerns have come up that existing government officials could simply exchange their positions, based on the candidates who have been mentioned.
The administration should appoint new ministers who are able to meet people’s expectations.