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[Editorial] Controversy Over Private School Law Continues

[Editorial] Controversy Over Private School Law Continues

Posted December. 15, 2005 08:59,   


As controversy over the new private school law spreads into the religious circle, the Catholic authority for the first time declared that it would wage a campaign for the resignation of government authorities.

Yesterday, it held a response meeting, requesting that “President Roh should veto this,” adding, “If the request is not met, we will stage a campaign to reject the law.” On the movement, it explained, “It has the same message as the campaign declared two days ago by the Association of Catholic School Foundation to demand the resignation of government authorities.” Prior to this, leading Protestants declared, “We will stand up against them with the sacred commitment of martyrs.”

Even in the anti-authoritarian struggles of the past, the Catholics have expressed their opinions in a moderate and reasonable manner, so their extreme position this time involving staging a campaign for resignation has been unprecedented since Korea’s liberation from Japan, and it is also quite shocking. Through a statement, they said, “The new private school law disrespects the social roles played by private schools in Korea, and their authority and reputation. It denies the reason why private schools have to be in place.”

It is interpreted that this statement not only contains concerns that education itself is wrong-headed as Cardinal Kim Su-whan mentioned, but also includes the sense of crisis that a leftist education might shake the national identity and constitutional order. The Catholics may be thinking that their previous reasonable manner to express their opinions would not suffice here.

The new private school law includes various poison pills, including “open boards of directors.” Even within the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, some have responded, saying, “This is going way too far.” Officials at the ministry are said to have later acquired the content of the bill as they were completely excluded in the ruling party’s private school law revision process.

Nevertheless, Kim Jin-pyo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resources Development waved off criticism, saying, “It is a good one,” adding, “The provisions possible to be unconstitutional would be complemented in the Enforcement Ordinance.” When the parent law has the problem, the Enforcement Ordinance will not be of much help.

The government has to understand the severity of the problem. It cannot just dismiss the opposition toward the private school law to sustain its authoritative power. It has to realize the severity of the issue, exemplified by the campaign for government resignation and the opposition from religious circles that have objected to the legitimacy of the authority and the national management process.