Go to contents

Ministry of Education Stops Collecting School Development Funds From Parents

Ministry of Education Stops Collecting School Development Funds From Parents

Posted July. 14, 2004 22:04,   


Starting next March, primary and secondary schools will not be able to accept school development funds from parents. Due to the complaints from some of the parents who had unwillingly donated School Development Fund, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE) revealed on July 14 its plan to revise relevant laws, including the Primary and Secondary Education Act and abolish the current system from the next spring semester.

Individuals however, including alumni and organizations, still can donate funds if they follow lawful procedures, and the system allowing parents of students to donate funds to a designated school through local offices of education will remain.

--The reason for the change

The School Development Fund was first introduced in 1998 in order to develop a sound donation culture and in order to eradicate under-the-table donation activities by parents. However, these illegal activities have increased since schools have kept on collecting donations, taking advantage of the system. The National Council of Parents for Genuine Education has discovered 112 cases of illegal donation activities between the end of March and early May, which is twice as many cases compared to the same period (50 cases) last year.

--The volume of funds

The total amount of school development funds has kept on rising, to 162.3 billion won in 2003, 136.2 billion won in 2002, and 131.7 billion won in 2001.

Last year, elementary schools raised a total of 98.4 billion won under the school fund system, middle schools, 24.5 billion won, and high schools, 38.2 billion won. This means 6,628 schools, 63 percent of all schools in Korea, have secured an average of 24 million won per school.

There was a large gap in the amount of funds raised among local schools. Each school in the Incheon area collected an average of 40.7 million won in 2002. However, that average was only 4.53 million won in the Jeonbuk area, which is one ninth of the average in Incheon.

--Paying school operating expenses

The MOE has yet to secure enough budget for school operating expenses. Therefore, it is expected that schools will have harder time supporting their expenses. A school headmaster from a middle school in the Gangnam area in Seoul said, “We have paid the expenses for water purifiers, and heating and air-conditioning systems from the fund, but it’s hard to cover all of the school’s costs by depending only on the budget.” The secretariat of the group “Parents for Genuine Education,” Park In-ok, said, “I agree with the government’s decision to abolish the old system, but I’m worried that some schools would rather raise the fund in more secret and illegal ways.”

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com