Quality is lost in regulationsThe Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education’s plan to appoint the principal of the new Seoul International High School from a pool of teachers who do not necessarily hold teaching certificates has been stopped by the Education Ministry.
The education office’s efforts to improve the educational environment at the Seoul Science High School for gifted children is also getting pressure from an uncomfortable Education Ministry. The central government is blocking every effort by local authorities to improve their schools. That’s why some want the Education Ministry shut down.
At first, Seoul’s education office allowed anyone with international experience and a high level of management ability to apply to be principal of the international high school, rather than limiting the pool to applicants who hold teaching certificates, because the school is designed to train global leaders.
The office also asked to reclassify the science school from a special purpose school to an alternative education school so it would have less governmental regulation. There was nothing wrong with the education office’s policies.
The ministry, however, opposed it, saying a science high school had never before been converted to a science high school for gifted children.
The ministry plans to allow non-teaching certificate holders as principals at other high schools, and might apply the policy to all schools. So why is the ministry against appointing a non-certificate holder to the international high school? This is a prime example of closed bureaucracy.
The head of each regional education office has the right to establish a high school. The ministry, however, has been bluntly interfering with their policies.
Kim Jin-pyo, the former Education Minister, kept changing his words to stop independent high schools from being established. Kim Shin-il, the current minister, is on the front line fighting against foreign language high schools. The ministry seems hostage to the beliefs of the Roh administration and the Korean Teachers & Educational Workers’ Union.
The policy designed to equalize high schools is already proving to be a failure. Outstanding students have the right to receive a high level of education. The first step is to allow different schools to be established. For consumers of education, it doesn’t matter whether it is a special purpose or an alternative school. What they need is a school where they can get better education. Simple.