Summer boot camps are banned

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Summer boot camps are banned

After five teenagers drowned at a summer camp last week, the Ministry of Education yesterday prohibited all elementary, middle and high school students from going to private camps modeled after military boot camps.

President Park Geun-hye warned her aides to tighten supervision of such camps.

The Education Ministry and education offices from cities and provinces yesterday held a meeting to create an oversight system in the aftermath of the deadly camp accident that took the lives of five students from Kongju National University High School. The students were swept away by a wave while doing an exercise in waist-deep water at a private summer camp called the Marines Corps Education Center Training in Taean, South Chungcheong. The camp had no connection with the Korean marines.

At the meeting, the ministry prohibited schools from sending their students to the military-style camps. It also required teachers to oversee all student activities on any kind of field trip. Schools were instructed to use the services of registered, authorized program providers for field trips.

An initial investigation into Thursday’s drownings showed that teachers and the headmaster of the school were having alcoholic drinks when the accident took place. The students were doing exercises in the sea around 5 p.m. under the supervision of the camp instructors.

During a meeting of her senior secretaries, President Park also addressed two deadly accidents from last week in her opening remarks. Aside from the five students’ in Taean, seven people drowned at a construction site in Noryangjin, Seoul.

“I have repeatedly stressed the importance of preventing summertime accidents,” Park said. “Regretfully, accidents still continue. The latest accidents could have been prevented if only basic safety regulations were respected.” Park warned of a stern punishment for lack of oversight in the future. “If another incident concerning people’s safety takes place due to the lack of oversight, I will sternly hold the responsible people accountable,” Park said.

BY SER MYO-JA, SUNG SI-YOON [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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