Posted July. 01, 2005 05:54,
It was found that the education authority has built an excessive number of primary schools and employed too many primary school teachers without taking consideration into the decline in the number of students caused by the lower birth rate.
Releasing the results of an audit conducted on education budget spending on June 30, the Board of Audit and Inspection noted that the lower birth rate has reduced the enrollment of primary schools, with more unused classrooms and sometimes surplus teachers. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development as well as city and local education authorities were subject to the audit, which lasted from March 16 to April 7.
In its recommendation to Kim Jin-Pyo, the deputy prime minister and minister of education and human resources development, the Board of Audit and Inspection called for a variety of measures to deal with the falling birth rate: reducing student capacity of National Educational Universities from the current 6,000 to 4,000, reexamining its plan to build new primary schools, and downsizing the number of teachers for small schools, to name a few.
A Growing Number of Unused Classrooms-
The Board of Audit and Inspection estimated that the number of primary school students will start to drop beginning in 2002 to reach 2.89 million or 70 percent of the current 4.12 million in 2015, as more and more Korean women prefer to have fewer children.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has opened 373 schools from 2001 to 2004 and plans to build 493 more by 2008. The increase in the number of schools has driven up the number of unused classrooms from 2,655 in 2001 to 6,042 in 2004.
Surplus Primary School Teachers-
In 2003, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development devised a plan to employ 6,000 primary school teachers annually to maintain the ratio of one teacher to every 18 students in conformity with the Mid/Long-term plan for supply and demand of primary school teachers.
The Board of Audit and Inspection pointed out, If the government sticks to the 6,000 primary school teachers, the number of students per teacher will drop to 17.8 by 2010 and continue to fall afterwards.
In response, the ministry acknowledged that it didnt factor the lower birth rate into the plan. But it argued It is not desirable to cut down on the number of schools to be built dramatically, because building schools requires a long term perspective, adding, The student capacity of National Educational Universities will remain same for a possible rebound in the birth rate.