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Private School Law Unconstitutional?

Posted September. 01, 2006 07:01,   


Amid heightened tensions between the opposition party and governing party over the revision of the private school law, ruling Uri Party Rep. Yoo Jay-kun on Thursday suggested a need to revise the law.

“The private school law extensively breaches the Constitution,” said Yoo.

Yoo said such remarks at a breakfast meeting held at a hotel in Seoul with the ChristianNGO, a protestant non-governmental organization. “If a ruling is made on the school law at the constitutional court, the court is likely to declare the school law to have violated at least four constitutional rights, including the freedom of choosing jobs,” he added.

It is unprecedented for the ruling Uri Party to criticize or call for amending the education law in public. His remark is triggering mounting speculation on whether or not it will fuel discussion over the school law within the ruling party.

Yoo is a three-term lawmaker and served as the party’s acting chairman from January 6, 2006 to February 18, 2006.

“Limiting relatives from becoming headmasters infringes on the freedom of choosing jobs. In addition, the clause requiring private school owners to choose more than a quarter of their board of directors from those nominated by a school steering committee or a college evaluation committee also seriously intervenes in the autonomy of private education and is likely against the constitution,” Yoo said.

“Uri Party lawmakers opposing the revision of the private school law claim that this is a matter of ‘identity’. However, it is not true. Everyone is exerting excessive efforts on this single law while delaying the passage of most urgent bills. But you have to think that this is not that significant law to be mentioned as an identity issue,” Yoo said to the Dong-A Ilbo during an exclusive interview.

“Although people say the approval rating of the Uri Party will plummet when the school law is revised, we have to think that our supporters are not merely just members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union and hard-line reformists. People from religious circles who strongly demand the revising the education reform law are also important for the party,” he emphasized.

In the meantime, the Grand National Party is expected to push for revision of the private school law that will allow relatives of private school owners to become their school principals and the schools to choose their own directors autonomously according to their regulations.