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Religious Groups to Stage Protest against Private School Law Revision

Religious Groups to Stage Protest against Private School Law Revision

Posted December. 15, 2005 08:59,   


The Korean Roman Catholic Church held a measures meeting aimed at countering the revision of the Private School Law yesterday and decided to stage a campaign against the bill if President Roh Moo-hyun does not exercise his right to veto the bill. About 20 figures, including bishops from across the country and officials related to the Catholic Private School Foundation, attended the meeting.

In a statement issued after the meeting hosted by the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs (chairman: Bishop Lee Byeong-ho) and the Association of Catholic School Foundation (chairman: Bishop Lee Yong-hun) held at a meeting room in the Bishop Council building in Junggok-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, they urged, “The bill will undermine the foundational spirit of all private schools as well as threaten the autonomy of their management,” adding, “We hope the president will veto the bill.”

In the statement, they pointed out, “The ruling Uri Party rammed the bill through the National Assembly without gathering the opinions from officials pertaining to the private schools fully, and the bill infringes on the makeup and authority of the board of directors at private schools seriously.”

They insisted, “Our concerns are even deeper because the bill was passed at the moment the private schools’ corruption can be corrected fully through the existing law, and a small minority (1.7 percent of the total) of private schools involved in corruption have actively tried to eliminate their problems,” adding, “The passage of the bill ignores the good social role that private schools have performed in the country and deprives them of their authorities and honors and denies the reason for their existence.”

“We will file a constitutional petition with the Constitutional Court in cooperation with other religious private school groups. If this demand is not realized, we will stage a campaign against the bill,” they announced in the statement.

Regarding this, Bishop Lee Yong-hun explained, “A campaign against the bill is tantamount to a movement aimed at the withdrawal of the Roh administration, which was announced by the Association of Catholic School Foundation on December 13.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Korean Private School Foundation held a meeting attended by its chairmen yesterday and decided to put its protest plans against the bill into practice without caving in to the government’s pacification and threat.

Jeong-Gook Yoon Seong-Chul Hong jkyoon@donga.com sungchul@donga.com