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Roh to Appoint 5th Education Minister

Posted July. 05, 2006 03:20,   


“If I become President, I will make sure that the term of the Minister of Education and Human Resources starts and ends at the same time with that of the President, so that educational policies earn consistency and trust from the public,” said President Roh in July 18, 2002 when he was then the presidential candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party during his visit to Baemyung Middle School as a one-day teacher.

After being inaugurated, when he appointed Yoon Deok-hong as the first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, he publicly pledged, “His term will be guaranteed until my term ends.”

It’s been long since his promise was not kept. However, President Roh’s promise of ‘maintaining consistency of educational policies’ is in the news again these days, as he has announced his decision to appoint former chief secretary to the president Kim Byung-joon as the fifth Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education despite opposition from the political and educational circles.

All of the former education ministers of this administration stepped down from their post in the middle of their terms, failing to fulfill their roles. Former ministers Yoon Deok-hong resigned in the wake of the educational crisis caused by problems with the National Education Information System, and his successor Ahn Byung-young was sacked for a large-scale cheating incident in the College Scholastic Ability Test. Ahn’s replacement, Lee Ki-joon, who was previously the president of Seoul National University, resigned in only five days after inauguration due to the controversy over his first son’s dual nationality. Former Deputy PM and Minister of Education Kim Jin-pyo, who was complimented by President Roh for being ‘the best government official,’ stepped down late June after the ministry’s new policy of restricting application for foreign language high schools by region sparked disputes.

Under the Kim Dae-jung administration, people would cynically say, “Education is an eight-month-long grand project,” as the average tenure of education ministers during that time was a mere eight months. The average tenure of education ministers under the incumbent administration is only nine months as well. It is doubtful, under these circumstances, whether President Roh will be able to regain the public trust in educational policies with his “Kim Byung-joon card.”