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Kim Jin-pyo Appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education

Kim Jin-pyo Appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education

Posted January. 27, 2005 23:44,   


President Roh Moo-hyun on January 27 designated Uri Party lawmaker Kim Jin-pyo as deputy prime minister and minister of education and human resources development.

He also accepted the resignation of minister of planning and budget Kim Byung-il and put deputy minister Byeon Yang-kyun in his place. Standing member and deputy secretary general of the Civil Service Commission Lee Seong-yeol was selected to fill the empty post as head of the Appeals Commission (equivalent to a vice-ministership.)

Signs are, however, that disputes will grow further, as education circles and civic groups are strongly opposing the president’s decision to appoint Kim, an economic expert, as education minister on the grounds of his lack of experience in the field. The post has been empty for 20 days since former education minister Lee Ki-jun resigned, creating quite a stir.

Cheong Wa Dae yesterday afternoon recommended three candidates, including Kim Jin-pyo for education minister, to President Roh in an appointment recommendation meeting presided over by chief presidential secretary Kim Woo-sik. Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, while on a visit to Busan, did not join the meeting, yet recommended Kim in a letter, and the President opted for Kim after the meeting.

Presidential Secretary of Personnel Affairs Kim Wan-ki provided explanation for background of the president’s decision as follows: “Being an economic expert, who has taken various major government and political posts, Kim Jin-pyo has a discerning eye for the nation’s overall economy. Minister nominee Kim Jin-pyo has so far stressed the importance of the need for education reform for the sake of stronger national competitiveness by putting himself in the position of a consumer of education.”

However, the Korea Federation of the Teachers’ Associations criticized, “The President’s appointment of an non-education expert as education minister amounts to the absurdity that he would apply economic logic to educational policies and neglect the public nature of education,” adding, “It is a very disappointing appointment in that the president has made a wrong move after such a long consideration.”

Spokeswoman for the Grand National Party Cheon Yeo-ok also joined the criticism, saying, “This government is betting all it has on its effort to resuscitate the economy. I feel so sorry and wonder whether such an appointment of the president is another example of its attempt to revive the economy,” adding, “We doubt the former failed economic prime minister, who caused a lot of pain to the public, will be a successful education minister.”

Jung-Hun Kim Seung-Heon Lee jnghn@donga.com ddr@donga.com