BAI to inspect education offices on proper personnel practices

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BAI to inspect education offices on proper personnel practices

The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea said on Tuesday it will conduct an inspection into city and provincial education offices that appoint superintendents through a direct election system, and said they will check the offices’ personnel matters and administrative procedures.

The BAI, however, explained that this is a planned inspection, not one of the recent scandal of Seoul Education Chief Kwak No-hyun, who is once again embroiled in controversy for giving promotions as favors to his secretaries and appointing two close confidants as new secretaries.

A high-ranking official from the BAI said, “This inspection is not only targeting the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education but all other education offices that were under suspicion of unfair promotions or appointments,” and added, “This is a separate inspection from the inspection request on Kwak from the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations.” The official explained that “this plan was already included in the annual planning for this year.”

However, considering the politically sensitive time due to the upcoming legislative elections on April 11, the BAI decided to launch the investigation after the election.

“We’ve detected problems in personnel and administrative affairs in several education offices, such as education chiefs elected by popular votes, while inspecting other sectors concerning education offices,” said an official from the BAI.

Earlier in the day of the announcement, the KFTA requested an inspection into the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education upon Kwak’s alleged unfair personnel affairs. The KFTA insisted that “due to personnel affairs that go against principles, as well as the abuse of authority over human resources by ordering special employment [from Kwak], there is chaos in schools as well as an increasing waste of manpower.” It is the first time that the KFTA has requested an inspection against an education office.

Education superintendents’ special employment issues have been prevalent for some time. In August of last year, the North Jeolla Provincial Office of Education was mired in controversy after promoting an ordinary middle school teacher who used to be the head of the North Jeolla region for the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union as a chief education researcher at an affiliated research institute.

By Cho Hyun-suk [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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