Updated February. 19, 2014 05:16
Criticisms are mounting that ministries and agencies of the government have failed to make progress or develop effective solutions to some urgent matters. The administration has entered the second year of its term when it should build up some momentum, but critics point out that many of the solutions are just the rehashing of old policies or chanting of empty slogans.
Seventeen ministries and agencies of the central government have been reporting President Park Geun-hye on their work plan for 2014 since February 5. Dong-A Ilbo has analyzed the contents of reporting from the 12 ministries and agencies that have already finished the reporting, and found that most of the contents were similar to those for 2013 and some policies were even moved backward. The president emphasized the spirit of persistence by making an analogy that if a Jindo dog bites something, it never lets it go until the flesh is completely cut. Nevertheless, the level of reporting was far short of such expectation.
Repeating the same policies from last year was commonly found in most ministries and agencies. In the first year of the term, they developed polices to give shape to the presidents campaign pledges. But coming up with the same policies for the second year may be seen as the administration still toying with the pledges, not making any progress.
For instance, the Unification Ministry`s Urgent Financial Support for North Korean Human Rights Act for this year is almost same to last year`s Active Cooperation with National Assembly for Enactment of North Korean Human Rights Act in contents. Besides, this is likely to end up being a mere slogan unless the National Assembly passes the bill. The Gender Equality and Family Ministrys plan to promote and give incentives to certify family-friendly enterprises is also what was reported last year. The Education Ministrys plan to fully implement the free semester system in all middle schools from 2016, one of the key tasks of the ministry, has not made much progress from the campaign pledge.
Some ministries have come up with ineffective policies only to meet the targets that the president promised during her presidential campaign. The Employment and Labor Ministry has developed measures only focusing on index numbers. For example, it has reported that the work-based-learning system will be expanded to general high schools in order to increase the employment rate to 70 percent. However, there is no follow-up measure to increase decent jobs.
Moreover, the targets set up by each ministry and agency are not very practical in many cases. The Health and Welfare Ministry has reported that it will expand the test project of comprehensive nursing services currently being implemented in 33 hospitals to 70 percent of local hospitals by 2017 although it doesnt have any measure to secure sufficient nursing workforce.