Ticked-off parents plan to protest

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Ticked-off parents plan to protest

Disgruntled parents will protest educational policies that have been implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic in front of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education in Jongno District, central Seoul, at 10 a.m. on Friday.  
The Seoul Parents' Association, comprised of some 1,000 parents whose children attend public elementary, middle or high schools in Seoul, said its members will protest policies implemented by the Ministry of Education and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education which, it says, have brought down the educational performance of students.  
“The importance of education has only grown since the onset of Covid-19, but the government has not made a single sound policy to maintain the quality of public school education,” said Kim Na-hyeong, president of the association.  
“Instead, the government has used this time to implement contentious education policies and now we want to know how they are going to normalize the public education system as the nation returns to normalcy.” 
One policy the association is protesting is a high school credit system announced by the ministry February.  
The system, which will be implemented nationwide by 2025, allows high school students to choose electives instead of forcing the same curriculum on everyone.  
While the system is used in the United States and France, many Korean parents oppose it. They believe their children will not be  focusing on the all-important College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).  
“In the Korean educational system, CSATs are extremely important for high school students and it is important that they remain focused on studying for what they will be tested on, not electives,” said Kim. 
“So while the credit system may be suitable in some countries, it is not for Korea.” 
Some don't like the government’s “Digital Friend” policy, which involves the distribution of tablet PCs to middle school students in public schools next year.
“Tablet PCs do not strengthen students’ digital abilities but rather increase our children’s chances of becoming addicted to digital gadgets,” said a 42-year-old parent whose son will enter middle school next spring.  
Aware of the complaints, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education held a series of consultations in 25 districts with parents and related government officials since July in order to listen to concerns.  
Some parents said the meetings were superficial.  
“The meetings were not for us, but for the officials to legitimize their contradictory policies,” said Kim.  

LEE GA-RAM, LEE JIAN [lee.jian@joongang.co.kr]
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