Posted December. 09, 2005 07:38,
The private school law revision proposed by speaker Kim Won-ki, which is aimed at arbitrating the division surrounding the law, is likely to pass at the plenary session of the National Assembly on December 9. The ruling Uri Party, minor opposition Democratic party, and Democratic Labor Party reached an agreement to accept the bill.
Kims revision bill is not very much different from the ruling partys draft on the controversial open director system. As in the ruling partys revision, the arbitration bill requires one third of the directors at a private school to be outside figures appointed by the school managing board. One difference is that the managing board is required to nominate twice as many candidates for the school to choose from. But it does not change the practice of having the school managing board select directors.
The school managing board is a group of teachers, parents, and local figures. It is a supervisory body on accounts and education programs. Teachers of private schools are equivalent to employees of businesses. Giving them the right to elect directors and to intervene in school management is as good as making them co-owners of schools.
Many businesses have adopted an outside director system, but it is fundamentally different from the open director system of private schools in that the outside directors are appointed by the management. The ruling party argues that private schools receive government money, so an open director system is fine. However, it is likely to be ruled unconstitutional as it clearly infringes on private property rights and management rights of schools.
It is not difficult to predict dangerous situations occurring in private schools if the arbitration revision is implemented. The school managing board is supposed to be composed of one-third teachers, one-third parents, and one-third local figures, respectively. But teachers are in effect the most likely to exercise the biggest influence. The Korea Teachers Union (KTU) is going to dominate schools where the majority of teachers are members.
Some schools are already experiencing KTU-phobia. When hearing the name KTU, the education ministry, local education offices, and school headmasters get scared. The KTU already has education policy and school management under its thumb. If it obtains the right to select open directors, it is just a matter of time before Koreas education falls into their hands.
The KTU already showed false pretenses when it rejected the teacher evaluation system out of self-interest. Its ideological prejudices were reaffirmed by their anti-globalization classes. The revision of the private school law will make them even stronger, further amplifying the education crisis.