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Severe Ordeals To Alternative Gandhi School

Posted May. 24, 2001 08:46,   


``Friends, It’s sad, shameful, regretful and I would like hide myself. But will you listen to my story? Don`t you give up your dreams, even in your thirties, forties, or when gray-haired. …`` Principal Yang Hoi-Chang performed a rap to the students on `Teacher`s day.`

The Gandhi School, Oi-Song-Ri, Shinan, Kyongnam, is the pioneer of the alternative schools in Korea. However, the school has undergone many serious financial difficulties.

The rap song expresses a pledge of the students and teachers to overcome the facing hardships. The Gandhi School has faced the most severe ordeals this year. Kyongnam Office of Education had supended their financial support to the Gandhi School for reasons of the violation of orders. The chairperson of the school committee was accused and convicted by the government. The Office of Education had supported 26 million won every month. If the subsidiary is not to resume, the school management would be virtually impossible.

Kyongnam Office of Education found out last year that the school had diverted its subsidiary for school curriculum to the management of Middle school, which was not approved by the Office of Education. And the Kyongnam Office ordered for a rectification to the school and finally suspended its financial support when the Gandhi School ignored the order. The Office of Education also accused the chairperson of the school foundation.

However, teachers insisted that they could not abandon students who came to learn. Local NGOs sided with the students.

20 local NGOs recently held a meeting and requested the immediate resuming of the financial support to the Gandhi School and amendment of the education law for the establishment of `specialized middle schools.`

`The committee for the educational diversity and the guarantee of basic rights for education` asserted that the suspension of the financial support to the school, which had no problems for years, was an oppression of the educational administration with no alternatives. And they also argued, ``It`s nonsense that the Office of Education ordered to cancel the Gandhi`s Middle School program since the government itself is considering the establishment of alternative middle schools.``

Last month, officials of the Kyongnam Office of Education expressed their re-consideration of the financial support. However, the Kyongnam Office of Education recently changed its position. The Office said, ``It’s too early to talk about the resuming of the financial support because the principal and the chairperson of the school foundation are currently indicted.``

The Gandhi School: Gandhi Youth School was open in March 1997. The goal of the school education is to nurture the wholeness of the personhood, people of communion, and well-balanced people with nature. School members include 30 teachers and 120 students. The school has a unified curriculum of senior and junior high school. The Gandhi School was approved as a `specialized high school` in December 1997 but not as a middle school.

Kang Jeong-Hoon manman@donga.com