Updated June. 09, 2014 03:53
Thirteen progressive-leaning education superintendents who won in Wednesday`s local elections are keeping a low profile. The newly elected education chiefs said that any drastic changes in education policies will not be sought, which can be interpreted as their attempts to ease concerns among parents.
Regarding the central government`s move to take disciplinary actions against school teachers who joined a public statement criticizing the government over April`s ferry sinking disaster, Cho Hee-yeon, the superintendent-elect of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, stressed a balance between the freedom of expression and law in interviews with various media outs Thursday. Asked about student rights ordinance emphasized by previous progressive-leaning superintendents, Cho said that while he respects the ordinance, he did not want the ordinance to clash with teachers` rights. Lee Jae-joung, superintendent-elect of the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education, said in his victory acceptance speech that he would "make a cooperative system through continued dialogues and initiative." Kim Seok-jun, superintendent-elect of the Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education also stressed changes in a "reasonable and gradual direction."
The attitudes are in contrast with previous progressive education chiefs. Six progressive-leaning superintendents elected in the 2010 local elections had maintained hard-line remarks and actions. The newly elected education chiefs seem to be showing relatively moderate attitudes out of concern that remarks of drastic changes would unnecessarily cause anxiety among students and parents. In addition, many analysts say that the new superintendents are aware of criticisms that changes in education policies at every election causes confusion. Some others say now that progressive-leaning education chiefs far outnumber conservative ones, they do not have to stick to drastic measures.