Open education, health care

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Open education, health care

Strategy and Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun and his economic team will take steps to promote the service industry.

From Tuesday, the government will host a series of hearings discussing ways to enhance 10 service fields and come up with a comprehensive measure by the end of the month.

The government decided to focus on the service sector because within it lie answers to pending economic issues like employment, consumption and the current account balance.

Even before his appointment to the economic chief position, Yoon repeatedly had emphasized the need to deregulate health care, education and tourism in order to boost domestic demand.

He is poised to act on his promise. We support Yoon’s call for deregulation in order to develop local service industries.

But there remain many problems to be addressed before we can open the doors to the service sector.

First of all, the local industries concerned still vehemently oppose market opening, and public opinion also remains unfavorable. Past governments have tried and failed every time they attempted to bring down the barriers due to strong opposition from local players.

Most impenetrable are the health care and education sectors. Under current law, only non-profit organizations can run hospitals and schools.

Education and medical services, therefore, cannot be regarded as industries under the law, as they are incapable of drawing private funds and undergoing competition.

New and sophisticated jobs are hard to find in these workplaces.

The limitless possibilities of the health care and education sectors, which could generate a wealth of added value and attract foreign funds, have been left unattended and neglected.

Arguments that these fields should allow corporate investors stand no chance against criticism from some civil rights groups that say change can only benefit the rich and distort education into a tool for making money.

The promise to promote the service industry should not stop with words. Quick actions should ensue if we want to catch up with the services available in advanced markets.

We need to see these talks concluded and the fence of those unnecessary regulations definitively torn down.

To do so, all the ministries should unite and display strong determination and force to administer the changes.

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