Go to contents

[Editorial] The Private School Law

Posted March. 07, 2007 06:48,   


In an extra session of the National Assembly, a revision of the private school law was not passed because of the Uri Party.

The Uri Party insisted an unconstitutional article be included in the private school law. And at the end of the session, the opposition and ruling parties agreed to discuss this issue at the end of March. However, it seems that the Uri Party is more responsible for this impasse.

It is quite clear that the Uri Party started the so-called “private school law scandal.” The new private school law violates the independence of private schools and constitutional principles. However, the Uri party pushed for this bill by force. On January 30, 2006, the Uri Party promised to amend the private school law together with the GNP. However, the Uri Party is still insisting that the unconstitutional articles, which include implementing an open trustee system, should be included in the law.

The two parties argued about dividing private schools into religious ones and secular ones, and offering the right to nominate candidates for trustees to religious fraternities. However, the argument was nothing more than a waste of time.

The new private school law has serious problems. The open trustee system allows outsiders to deprive the founder of a school of management rights. It is also proving destructive to the underpinnings of Korea’s free, democratic constitution. Lee Seok-yeon, the lawyer who filed an open plea about the new private school law, says, “The law harms the basics of Korea’s democracy and market economy, which are the two pillars of the constitution.” This is the reason so many Koreans, including the GNP, private schools, and public schools, are opposed to this law.

Belatedly, the government asked the Uri Party to amend the private school law last year. However, the party has refused to amend the law twice, saying that the amendment is not in line with the identity of the party. The Uri Party has expressed its disapproval of changing the law as a result. It seems that the identity of the ruling party is to infringe upon the independence of education in Korea by pointing to the minimum number of scandals related to private schools. The Uri Party is doing nothing more than currying favor from the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union. The ruling party has not realized that the reason the Koreans turned their backs on the party is that the party is not thinking seriously about free democracy, the market economy, and the spirit of the constitution.

If the GNP does not stand against the new private school law and stays complacent with its “negotiations,” it will have to be held responsible for the situation. The newspaper law and the new administrative city special law were bordering on unconstitutionality. However, the GNP did not hold fast to its own views. As a result, many Koreans are paying a dear price. The government and the ruling party are out of time. It makes one think that the GNP does not have the will to secure democracy in Korea.