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Chung Dong-young Wants to Expand Education Budget to 6 Percent Of GDP

Chung Dong-young Wants to Expand Education Budget to 6 Percent Of GDP

Posted November. 02, 2007 07:05,   


Chung Dong-young, the presidential candidate of the United New Democratic Party, said in a policy discussion held by the Korean Federation of Teachers` Associations (KFTA) on Thursday, “If elected, I will expand the nation’s education budget to six percent of GDP by 2012.” He also emphasized that he will increase the education budget from the current 30 trillion won per annum to 70 trillion by 2012.

Chung added, “I will declare 2008 as the year for education and set up a special body directly under the presidential authority to discuss education issues.”

With regards to how to finance his plans, he said, “If our economy continues to grow five to six percent annually, there will naturally be more tax revenues. With the introduction of an incentive system in allocating budget money, the government can secure more for education as the total budget can be cut by ten percent.”

He went on to say, “I will replace the current armistice regime with a peace regime. Both Koreas should work toward having 300,000 soldiers each. We can invest the peace dividend coming from the transformation into people.”

Regarding reform plans for university education, he said, “The government gave hard time to high school students and their teachers, only focusing on makeshift measures. It is time for the government to do something about the universities themselves. In order to foster competition among universities, we need to make sure they are independent. However, the Education Ministry interfered too much in the current system, undermining the competitiveness of universities. The solution is to guarantee the independence of universities and make them free from ministry interference.”

Lee Myung-bak, Chung’s competitor from the main opposition Grand National Party, said in a similar discussion held in the same venue last Tuesday, “The role of the Education Ministry should be changed.”

When Chung was asked if he had any plans to restore the retirement age for teachers from the current 62, which was set by former president Kim Dae-jung, to 65, he replied, “The retirement age should gradually reach 70. If I am elected, I will push for an eventual change and review any other ideas on the retirement age for teachers.”

In contrast, Lee Myung-bak said last Tuesday, “I am aware that some young teachers have different ideas on restoring the retirement age.”