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Ministry of Education Could Recognize Home Schooling

Posted November. 03, 2005 07:19,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE) is examining a measure to acknowledge home schooling as an official academic background. Home schooling is an educational form in which children are educated by parents or experts at home instead of at school. On November 2, the MOE said, “Many people demand that home schooling, which is being conducted when a student fails to adapt well to a normal school system or when a household holds a certain kind of educational or religious faith, be recognized as a formal academic background,” adding that it is investigating a plan to acknowledge restrictively home schooling after studying a policy for it.

Under the current Elementary and Secondary Education law, if elementary or middle school students, ones for compulsory education, can’t attend school for some inevitable reasons such as diseases, they can either go to school at a later time or are exempted from attending schools. However, when students don’t go to school because they are dissatisfied with the school system and are educated at home, they aren’t qualified for the exemption.

Regarding the matter, an official of the MOE said, “Though home schooling could deprive students of social experiences and infringe on their right to study, an increasing number of households adopt home schooling either because they don’t like the way schools teach their children or to better nourish children’s individuality and aptitude, so we are considering recognizing home schooling as a formal academic source.”

The MOE noted that even if it recognizes home schooling as official, it will restrictively permit home schooling under the strict standard of demanding information on subjects, materials, and instructors by superintendent of educational affairs in cities and provinces and for the lowest academic performance of the student.

Currently, there is no statistic showing exactly how many households are engaged in home schooling in Korea, but it is estimated that around 5,000 homes are doing so as part of an alternative education movement or in accordance with their own religious beliefs.

Easier access to educational material through the internet is also another reason behind the spread of home schooling.

The U.S., Britain, and Canada, where home schooling started earlier on, approve of home schooling as an official academic background and report the educational process and studying plan of home schooling to a regional educational administration and support educational costs on condition of regular academic assessments.

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com