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Public Schools Open to Private Institutes

Posted April. 25, 2008 06:27,   


Lectures starting at 8 a.m. and dividing students according to their academic levels will be banned in Seoul but for subjects other than English and math, students can take classes according to their proficiency.

After deliberation by the School Management Committee, for-profit organizations such as private institutes and academic publishers can participate in after-school programs and provide their services for money. They will be allowed to provide English and math classes, on top of non-academic classes.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education announced the detailed plans for school autonomy on Thursday as a follow-up to the school autonomy plan released by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

As agreed in the national vice superintendents meeting on April 17, the education office decided to ban the superior and inferior class system and classes starting at 8 a.m., before regular classes.

However, it gives discretion to schools so that their students can move between classes not only for English and math but also for other subjects.

The education office also decided not to allow one private education service provider to take on all programs, although it can be entrusted with one program.

If given the green light by the School Management Committee, there is no limit in the number of programs a provider can offer.

Bans on trail exams administered by private providers are also lifted. Therefore, schools can decide on the providers. Collective kids’ newspaper subscription by students will be permitted if the School Management Committee says yes.

However, it is worried that privately administered monthly or bi-monthly trial examinations by high schools can be carried out more than once a month or spread to middle schools.

The Education Ministry abolished the guidelines for collective school uniforms and curriculum normalization after the Korea Scholastic Ability Test.

However, what will be retained are campaigns to prevent illegal donation and under-the-table-money from parents, and a guideline that when a school opens a course on religion, it should open multiple courses so that students can have choices.

Guidelines for lectures delivered on special occasions such as the oil spill in Taean, South Chungcheong Province, will be under the education office, as was the case in the past.

Vice Superintendent Kim Gyeong-hoi of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education stressed “Based on autonomy, schools can flexibly run educational affairs tailored to students, parents and the local community. That way, we can boost the satisfaction level of education.”

The Seoul chapter of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union claimed “The superior and inferior class system is banned but performance-based classes are another name for it. And the ban on classes starting at 8 a.m. will not work. After-school programs risk becoming another form of private tutoring."

In the meantime, education offices in other provinces and cities plan to come up with their own plans by referring to the plan of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

Vice Superintendent Lee Won-kun of the Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education said “Seoul’s plan leans more towards autonomy than was expected. We have negative opinions on privately administered sham exams. So our plan will likely be more or less conservative autonomy.”

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