Posted December. 29, 2004 22:49,
A public hearing concerning ways to improve the Local Educational Autonomy System such as directly electing the superintendent of educational affairs by residents, was held on Wednesday at the second floor of the detached building of the central government building located on Sejong-ro of Jongno-gu, Seoul.
During the public hearing, 14 education-related figures such as chairman Yoon Sung-shig of the Governmental Innovation Decentralization Committee, joint-chairman Lee Ki-woo of the local educational administrative improvement special committee of the Governmental Innovation Decentralization Committee, Educational Policy Research Institute head chief Ryu Hoe-do of the Korean Federation of Teachers Association, and a member of the educational committee, Ahn Seung-moon of the Seoul Board of Education, participated as debaters.
Lee Jang-won, the representative of the nationwide teaching staff labor union, refused to participate in the public hearing, saying, Not only is the right of self-administration by the school, which is the central issue of the Educational Autonomy System, not included, but the Governmental Innovation Decentralization Committee is also using the debaters as their best men by notifying the participants just the day before the public hearing.
The Core Disputed Issue and Each Sides Arguments-
The three core debated issues of the Educational Autonomy System are whether to unite the municipal and provincial educational board and educational related standing committees, the method of municipal and provincial superintendence of the educational affairs election, and whether to grant the local autonomy organization the right to establish educational facilities.
The improvement measures proposed by the Governmental Innovation Decentralization Committee are to unify the municipal and provincial educational commission and related standing committees of the municipal and provincial council, to let the residents directly elect the municipal and provincial superintendent of educational affairs, and to grant the right to local autonomy groups to establish educational facilities.
The educational organization and educational group representatives argue that In case they unite, education will be subordinate to politics and the academic field will degenerate into a political field.
On the matter concerning directly electing the superintendent of educational affairs, they gave a green light. However, the local autonomy organization asserted that the effort to unite local administrative affairs and educational affairs will weaken the foundation of the Educational Autonomy System. The nominating system by the municipal and provincial governor should be implemented or at least they should make sure that the superintendent of educational affairs becomes a running mate during the municipal and provincial governor election.
Concerning whether to give the right to build educational facilities to local autonomous administrations, they were found to all differ in opinion.
The Remaining Schedule and Prospects-
By January of 2005, the Governmental Innovation Decentralization Committee is planning to hold two more additional public hearings to settle the governments reform measure. Furthermore, it is planning to revise the concerned law at least by the next first half year to carry on with local elections in 2006. However, they plan to readjust the election time for the superintendent of educational affairs since the term of office is different for each municipal or provincial area.
However, since the two sides stance on the important issues are different, with no side willing to back off, the improvement of the Educational Autonomy System is predicted to become a very bumpy road.