The Seoul branch of the Korea Kindergarten Association (KKA) has drawn the line against the association by announcing that it will not close or shut down facilities regardless of whether the three revision bills (Private School Act, Early Childhood Education Act, School Meals Act) drafted by ruling party lawmaker Park Yong-jin are passed at the National Assembly.
On Friday, the association’s Seoul branch conveyed its stance to Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, that it will rule out any possibilities that will infringe upon children’s right to learn or heighten the anxiety of parents.
The Seoul division’s independent action seems to have stemmed from internal conflicts. The branch’s stance is the exact opposite of the KKA’s official position that they will close their facilities en masse if the parliament passes the revision bills. Also, the head of the Seoul branch did not attend a forum hosted by the association on Oct. 30 to discuss measures to strengthen the publicness of private kindergartens. Having been absent in the forum and taken part in an online application and lottery system, the Seoul branch was treated as a betrayer by the KKA.
In an emergency briefing held Friday, the Ministry of Education said that it will examine whether any illegalities were committed including mobilizing parents during the KKA’s large rally held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul on Thursday to oppose the three revision bills, and if so, if will request investigations. The kindergarten association had reportedly requested each member preschool bring at least two parents to the rally, and some of the kindergartens are known to have had to hire people to meet the demand.
The Education Ministry said that it plans to speed up the process of establishing 1,000 more public kindergartens to counter the possible shutdown of private preschools. The government also decided to set up rental public kindergartens in regions with high demands for preschools such as Seoul and Gyeonggi Province.