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Education Reform Plan to Come in February

Posted January. 03, 2008 01:04,   


Universities will be given more autonomy in selecting students, as the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development will hand over college admission-related functions to college consultative bodies, such as the Korean Council for University Education (KCEU).

The ministry and its authority will likely be significantly downsized, as its power over the establishment of special high schools and supervision of elementary and secondary schools will be extensively transferred to regional education offices. The government will also strengthen the autonomy of educational institutes and nurture elite students.

The presidential transition committee, which received a report from the Education Ministry Wednesday, concluded its plan to reorganize the ministry`s functions and liberalizing the college admission system.

Seven senior officials from the ministry briefed on the incumbent administration’s progress in its education policies and reported necessary measures to implement President-elect Lee Myung-bak’s education campaign pledges.

Committee spokesman Lee Dong-kwan told a briefing that the new administration will remove most of the ministry’s supervision of college admission regulations and pass its admission-related authority to the KCEU and the Korean Council for College Education

The committee, however, will announce its conclusion on general admission policies in February after further consultations with experts. This is because the timetable and roadmap for the phased liberalization of the college admission system are sensitive matters and could trigger dissent within the ministry.

New measures will also seek to improve the grading system for the College Scholastic Aptitude Test and will be announced in February along with new admission policies.

“We have concluded that it will be more efficient to release education reform measures all at once, including the road map for college admission," spokesman Lee said. "Though the Education Ministry said it will garner opinions on the grading system for the college entrance test, we demanded measures to improve the system by early February due to strong complaints from students and parents.”

In addition, regional education offices will have the power to establish autonomous private high schools and designate special purpose high schools to regional education offices.

The committee will also retain the status of teachers as public servants and grant regional education offices the authority to decide the number of teaching staff and personnel matters.

A core function of the Education Ministry, supervision of regulations on special high schools and college admission is expected to be removed alone with a reshuffle in February. Thus the ministry is expected to undergo a major reorganization.

A transition committee source also said that to guarantee autonomy for colleges, automatic promotion must be stopped for former high-ranking ministry officials to director positions at national universities, and that certain ministry functions should be merged with those of the labor, and science and technology ministries.