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Why hiding reason for replacement of senior secretary for education?

Why hiding reason for replacement of senior secretary for education?

Posted September. 22, 2014 02:09,   


The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae accepted resignation of Senior Presidential Secretary for Education Song Kwang-yong, who was appointed only three months ago. In June when he was nominated, there were controversies over his qualifications such as publishing his students` dissertation under his name, publishing papers in duplication and receiving illegal compensation worth 14 million won (approximately 13,400 U.S. dollars). But President Park Geun-hye pushed ahead the decision saying he is an "educational policy expert." However, Song was actually replaced on the departure day of President Park’s state visit to Canada and the U.S., and the next day after the opening ceremony of 2014 Incheon Asian Games, one of the major responsibilities of senior presidential secretary for education. Explanation from Cheon Wa Dae was simply, “Song returns to school. It is principle not to brief (reasons) for human resource affairs.”

There are some rumors around the resignation. Some say Song couldn’t handle properly when the Seoul city superintendent, who is pro-Korean Teachers & Educational Workers` Union (KTU), pushed ahead to advance the time to begin elementary and secondary school classes to 9 a.m. and to cancel the status of some disqualified independent private high schools. Others blame that the government hasn’t had unified responses after the court’s decision to strip of KTU’s legal status. Some say there was a conflict between Education Minister Hwang Woo-yea and Song. However, all of these rumors are not convincing as reason of replacement of the senior presidential secretary. Furthermore, the former presidential secretary had served as a member of board of directors at the Jungsoo Scholarship Foundation from 1999 when President Park had served as chairwoman to 2013. As some argue, if the replacement is because of alleged corruption Song committed when he was the president of Seoul National University of Education, the principle is to make public the investigation results of the Presidential Secretary Office for Civil Affairs Office and let the prosecution investigate thoroughly.

Last year, the government suddenly made Professor Choi Dae-seok step down, who had been a member of the Commission on Presidential Transition. In February this year, the government didn’t give clear reasons after returning Cheon Hae-seong, current head of Special Office for Inter-Korean Dialogue who was then a nominee for presidential secretary for national security, to unification minister in just eight days. If the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae cannot make public the reasons for replacement of a senior presidential secretary, who has authorities and influence incommensurable with a member of presidential transition commission or a presidential secretary, doubts will grow on the corruption behind it. It is an act to ignore the public’s right to know, and also a rude manner against the public who pay taxes.

Even now, many rumors and speculations are around due to Cheong Wa Dae’s confidentiality and security in dealing with state affairs. Prior to launch of the government, many complained that nobody knows with whom or how President Park discuss on personnel matters or policies. To avoid unnecessary misunderstanding, the presidential office should provide clear explanation on the doubtful replacement. As the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae tries to cover up, criticism will grow that it is a trick to cover up mistakes in qualification on nominees.