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GNP Retreats on Private School Law

Posted February. 21, 2006 02:59,   


The Grand National Party (GNP) is planning to submit a private school law reform bill to the National Assembly this week that allows all universities, and elementary and secondary schools to implement an open board of directors system and to leave the methods and procedures governing those boards up to the articles of association.

The GNP decided on this course of action after being informed of a reform bill being prepared by the special committee on private school law reform, chaired by Kim Sung-jo, during a general meeting of the National Assembly.

Until now, the GNP had maintained that the open board of directors system could be implemented at universities but not in elementary and secondary schools due to concerns over doctrinal education. But its new reform bill will allow private schools to select any director they want as long as it is in accordance to the articles of the association.

A GNP official said, “This does not mean that an open director may not be selected, but that the method and procedure of the selection and the number of directors should be left for each school to decide.”

The current private school law, which was forced through the Assembly by the Uri Party at the end of last year, stipulates that directors must be selected from candidates recommended by the school’s managing committee, and should be over a quarter of the total number of directors in cases of elementary and secondary schools.

The GNP’s Fifth Policy Adjustment Committee chief Cho Dae-hyun said, “There is no particular need for an open director system in elementary and secondary schools, but as there are some dishonest private schools and as there is a need to inform outsiders of the difficulties in managing private schools, the party decided to go along with the implementation of an open board of directors system.”

The revised GNP bill deleted the article from the current law that forbids relatives of the chief director of an educational foundation from being appointed as the head of a school.

The bill also corrects the current situation that allows the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development or the government education office to appoint a temporary director when a school cannot perform its normal tasks. The bill stipulates court approval when appointing temporary directors and specifically asks for the reasons for a director’s appointment.

In addition, “illegal school union activity” was added as grounds for staff punishment or dismissal.

The bill calls for the self-regulation of private schools and self-autonomy in school management. In exchange, proof that the schools are in compliance with official management guidelines by presidential decree must be published on the Internet at all times to improve the transparency of school management.

Chin-Ku Lee sys1201@donga.com