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Zero budget for free high school education and elementary school care class

Zero budget for free high school education and elementary school care class

Posted September. 19, 2014 03:38,   


No budget was set aside for free education at high schools, care class for elementary students and Nuri Education (childcare and education for toddlers aged 3 up to 5), which were major presidential election pledges of President Park Geun-hye. Even worse, local education subsidy that accounts for a big portion of budget for elementary and secondary education has been reduced in 6 years, which is forecasted to aggravate the financial challenges of local education.

The Ministry of Education requested for 242 billion KRW to introduce free education for high school students from next year in a phased manner. However, no budget was assigned for this purpose. Other budget requests of 2.2 trillion KRW for Nuri Education and 660 billion KRW for Care Class for elementary students were turned down. High school free education was one of the most representative presidential election pledge by President Park, but the budget has not been set aside for this purpose since 2014. In addition, as the ministry failed to receive budget for next year, it is highly likely for free high school education project to fall through.

The government’s direction is that individual city and province education office shall cover the budget with local bonds or local education subsidies. However, due to decreasing tax revenue, next year’s local education subsidy is estimated at 39.5 trillion KRW, decreased by 1.34 trillion KRW from this year. As large-scale government-led projects such as Nuri Education also add burdens on local education finance, the local education authorities are now holding back voluntary resignation of public school teachers. Against this backdrop, resistance from city and province education offices is likely to grow further.

On the contrary to reduced budget for elementary and secondary education, budget for tuition of universities has been increased. Including the scholarship (66.4 billion KRW) for good graders in the natural sciences and engineering, 3.91 trillion KRW was earmarked for budget to support the Half-Tuition project. The education ministry explained that the finance for half-tuition of university and college education will be fulfilled when combining 3.1 trillion KRW of financial support from universities and the assigned budget. National scholarship budget has been increased by 170 billion KRW (by 4.6%) to 3.84 trillion KRW, and scholarship for good graders in art and physical education has been created (1.1 billion KRW).