Bill would normalize the public education systemThe Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee of the National Assembly held a plenary session yesterday and passed a special bill that aims to normalize public education and restrict teaching material that deviates from or jumps ahead in the standard curriculum.
One of President Park Geun-hye’s campaign pledges, it is intended to address problems stemming from uncontrolled private education, which weakens the public education system and financially burdens parents.
The proposal is expected to be approved by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee and National Assembly, the next steps in the bill’s ratification.
Under the legislation, elementary, middle and high schools, as well as universities, will be prohibited from teaching advance material in courses, giving tests that cover advance material or even conducting evaluations that may be considered teaching ahead.
Principals and presidents of each school will be obliged to curb advanced teaching and carry out regular training sessions to prevent it.
Schools and teachers who violate those regulations will face severe disciplinary action, including possible suspension, the suspension of admissions or a reduction in funding.
To supervise and enforce these measures, a deliberative committee for education normalization will be established, as well as similar committees under each superintendent.
“When the bill is enacted, the students who are in extremely competitive situations will be brought back to their normal, balanced lives,” said an official on the Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee.
Private academies will be also banned from advertising advanced courses. However, the bill would not prevent those facilities from teaching material in advance, which has led critics to argue that the bill would not rein in the private education market.
BY KIM SUNG-TAK, KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]