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[Editorial] Expectation for and Worry about Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kim Jin-pyo

[Editorial] Expectation for and Worry about Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kim Jin-pyo

Posted January. 27, 2005 22:59,   


Uri Party representative Kim Jin-pyo was appointed as education minister and deputy prime minister after three weeks of vacancy since Lee Gi-jun’s retirement. Having worked as an economy public servant for 30 years and elected in the last general election, he has no working experience in the education field. The appointment – it is virtually a transfer of the former economy minister and deputy prime minister to education minister and deputy prime minister – is raising hot controversy on “exceptional personnel” and “experimental personnel.”

When he appointed the former education minister, President Roh Moo-hyun stated, “Universities are an industry, and I have chosen an appropriate person for university reforms.” After making stirs by suggesting the education minister position to Representative Kim Hyo-seok of the Democratic Liberal Party, he stressed, “An education minister who can lead university education to the direction demanded by our economy and society is needed even if he may not be an education expert.” Thus, the education administration criteria this time also seems to have prioritized university reforms and someone who can manage it well.

Everybody agrees that university reforms are not only an educational matter but also are immediate tasks to sharpen national competitiveness. Even though universities should serve as the primary production bases for talents and knowledge, it is disappointing that our universities’ backwardness hinder the advancements. Nonetheless, people have different ideas on whether the new deputy prime minister is the right person for university reforms.

There is much opposition within the education circles because the worries on economy reasoning on educational policies and the symbolic prestige of the prime minister as an educator worked in complex. Deputy Prime Minister Kim, who assumed an important role in the cold environment of the education circles, has a challenging task ahead; he has to respond to the strong demands of the people for improved educational competitiveness and at the same time, not be negligent on the long-term vision of education.

He should pursue university reforms, a problem that should no longer be put off, under the goal of ultimately nurturing world-class prestigious schools and have tangible results soon. The people are paying attention to the new deputy prime minister with expectation in one eye and worry in the other.