Spats over private tutoringThe ruling party, the government and the Blue House are creating discord over measures aimed at reducing families expenditure on private education. They seem to be having a tug of war to take the leading role for implementing measures to reduce private tutoring.
The measures are still premature but have been released over the past two months in a disorderly fashion. After the president made his views public on the matter, the ruling party, the government and the Blue House had their first working level meeting on June 30 to prepare measures to dampen private education market.
In an interview, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ahn Byong-man said his ministry should supervise an education policy and make final decisions. He made it clear that he would take the lead in creating measures on private tutoring.
It is important to have a healthy debate within the ruling party to reduce private education expenditure. But looking at what is happening now between the government and the GNP, this does not seem to be the case.
It is doubtful that effective measures will be presented despite the big buzz they are generating. The problem is premature measures are more like ideas that the government and the ruling party have not agreed on, yet are presented in haste only to confuse students and parents. Last week, shortly before schools final exams, a measure to exclude students school performances during their first year in high school was reported through the press, creating chaos and confusion across the country.
The private education issue is nothing that can be solved in a short time. It is not good to present a premature measure as if it is the one that will keep private tutoring under control, such as changing the way to evaluate students school performances from the current relative criteria to an absolute basis. It will still be difficult to achieve the goal even if the government and political circles work together.
And if they look like they are squabbling over the issue, people will suspect that all they will ever present is only narrow-viewed measures. Then the government will be criticized for wavering.
The government and the ruling party can have different stances over how to control private education, but they have to narrow these differences among themselves. They must not reveal their differences in public and fight. That will only confuse students and parents.
We hope that the ruling party, the government and the Blue House will work in cooperation to seek realistic measures to slash private education expenditure.