The country’s courts have approved injunctions that 10 autonomous private high schools filed after they were found by the education offices to fail to pass assessments to have their licenses renewed this year. The Suwon District Court and the Busan District Court accepted injunctions filed by Ansan Dongsan High School and Haeundae High School on Wednesday, while the Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of the remaining eight schools in Seoul Friday, putting on the brakes of the Education Ministry’s policy to scrap the privileged category of high schools.
Such conflicts between the education authorities and the autonomous private high schools are repeating themselves every five years when an assessment takes place. Right after he took office in 2014, Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, revoked the licenses of six autonomous private high schools in Seoul. Back then, the ministry revoked the license through its authority, and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education filed a lawsuit against the decision. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the direct revocation of the licenses by the minister was lawful. Till when should we witness repeated conflicts over the fate of elite high schools?
The 10 schools can now maintain their status for three to four years until the administrative litigation against the Metropolitan and Provincial Offices of Education comes to an end. However, the Education Ministry is still adhering to its policy to remove autonomous private high schools, making students attending such schools and their parents to feel anxious about the schools’ fate. Things will not get better next year as the education offices are scheduled to conduct an assessment of 48 schools, including 12 autonomous private high schools, 30 foreign language high schools, and six international high schools. The education authorities must immediately stop pushing ahead with their plan to remove autonomous private high schools, which only causes division and consumes administrative resources.