Schools implement principal evaluation system

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Schools implement principal evaluation system

Seven education offices in cities such as Seoul, Busan, Daegu and provinces such as North Chungcheong, North Gyeongsang and South Gyeongsang have or will launch a system for evaluating school principals, but the controversy it has generated within the education community.

According to the Education Ministry, the Busan Office of Education last year began evaluating principals at elementary schools with 40 or more classes and at middle and high schools with 30 or more classes in order to raise their competitiveness. Five education offices followed suit, with Seoul being the latest to join.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said Wednesday the evaluations will begin sometime early next year and that those who receive negative marks will be subject to punitive measures, including loss of the chance to be reappointed.

The assessment criteria include school management skills, which account for the largest portion of the score at 50 percent, followed by student academic achievement, the principal’s overall performance, and parent satisfaction.

“If a principal loses the opportunity to be reappointed, he or she should step down to ordinary teacher status or get a new job,” said an education office official. “Those whose performance is rated as poor will face major disadvantages.”

Those who receive a positive evaluation will be granted bonuses as well as free training sessions at home and abroad.

The introduction of the principal evaluation system has begun as the government grants more autonomy to the schools, which could ultimately give principals greater authority.

Education experts predict the new system will have a sizable impact on the teacher evaluation system, which is a separate system to be implemented next year. In the teacher evaluation system, the principals evaluate the teachers.

Objections to the teacher evaluation system have been raised by the Korean Teachers & Education Workers’ Union, the nation’s only union of teachers, which says the system would give principals an undue amount of power.

The Seoul education office, however, argues that the implementation of the principal evaluation system could allay some of these fears.

Meanwhile, the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations, the country’s largest network of teachers and administrators, said evaluation standards should be discussed further and that the same yardstick should not be applied to all schools.

By Seo Ji-eun []
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