No experience necessaryThe National Assembly and educational circles are still in the throes of change involving the minimum qualifications to be eligible for the position of school superintendent and the selection method of members of the education committee.
The Education, Science and Technology Committee of the National Assembly convened the Legislation and Judiciary Committee at the end of last year and passed the amendment to the Local Education Autonomy Act. The amendment stipulates that someone with no teaching experience can become the superintendant of a school and that members of the education committee should be elected based on a party-list proportional representation system rather than via direct elections. However, met with strong resistance from educational circles, the Education, Science and Technology Committee decided to take a step back and reconsider its decision. The committee’s plenary session, held last Thursday, considered a new compromise plan to bolster the requirements to two to three years of teaching experience. At the same time, the teachers’ union held a rally to voice its views on the issue.
The school superintendent runs a tight ship when it comes to the direction of education. In the past, it was a golden rule that a highly qualified educational leader should serve as a school superintendent. Most school superintendents are promoted from professor or principal after 30 to 40 years of teaching experience. The point is that the attributes of superintendents under this system don’t necessarily help us keep up with a rapidly changing educational world. Someone who has been in education for three or four decades might have become quite conservative in regards to change and risk, and he or she is likely entangled in issues related to school relations and regionalism.
If we continue at this rate, education may become stagnant. We should change our way of thinking to clear the way for a revolutionary person capable of breathing new life into the educational field. Minimizing the requirements to become superintendent - at least when it comes to experience in the field - could be a way to get a talented figure at the helm. It would be a step in the right direction to recruit candidates who have little or no teaching experience. If not, we will never have a young and revolutionary figure like Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of Washington D.C.’s public school system.
Along the same lines, the introduction of a party-list proportional representation system is a matter that must be carefully deliberated. If candidates get jobs due to the influence of an acquaintance in politics, it may ruin the autonomy and neutrality of education.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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