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NEIS: Separate Management of the Three Fields

Posted December. 15, 2003 23:05,   


The National Education Information System (NEIS) dispute, which had dragged on over a year, was finally resolved yesterday.

Of the NEIS’s 27 fields, 24 will be managed by the existing NEIS method, but in the fields of school affairs, health and admissions, which have been criticized for infringing upon students’ rights, final plans have been made to have a server built for each school with the local education office or outside organizations managing it.

The Informatization Committee, under the prime minister’s office, is composed of 26 people from the Korean Teachers & Educational Worker’s Union, the academic world, parents’ organizations and public service personnel, and a meeting was held at the Central Government Complex in Seoul Jongro-gu that day. After hearing the compromise from the joint sectional meeting, they adopted the final plan.

Separate managements of the three fields - The Informatization Committee had heated discussions over the proposals, which were to place the database server of the three fields at each local education office and to run a unified system but managing by each school, to place the server at the education office but have each school managed by an independent server rather than a unified system, or to run an independent NEIS server for each school.

The Ministry of Education insisted on putting the three fields in the NEIS server of the local education office and having them managed by each school, and Korean Teachers & Educational Worker’s Union insisted on placing the fields in independent servers still managed by the school.

Both sides seem to have accepted this compromise, taking note of the fact that the NEIS matter, which had dragged over a year, had been aggravating public opinion.

Controversy of rights violations dies down - The fact that the three fields will be managed by each school’s server, and the students’ personal information will not seep through the school walls has satisfied the Korean Teachers & Educational Worker’s Union demands for the moment.

Under this final plan, each school principal will have final responsibility over information in the fields of school affairs, health and admissions. If the Ministry of Education or local education offices want to use this information, they will have to receive approval from the school principal.

Considering that building an independent server for each school will require a tight budget, schools of a certain size will be grouped together and be managed by a group server. Special schools with handicapped students’ information will have an independent school server no matter how small the school is.

This will cut the budget immensely compared with managing an independent server for each school, which was estimated to cost two trillion won, and teachers in charge of the information will not have the burden of actually managing the server.

Different opinions over management form - Korean Teachers & Educational Worker’s Union says that server management should be entrusted to a private web-hosting firm, and the Ministry of Education is insisting on local education office management. The Korea Federation of Teachers’ Associations opposed the plan, saying that “To manage the three fields with an independent server for each school will cost much to create but also require much expense to maintain,” showing signs that controversy over the form of management will persist.

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com