Updated September. 04, 2014 06:43
Against the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Educations decision to reduce the number of autonomous private high schools, parents of independent private high school staged a large-scale protest calling for the resignation of Seoul education superintendent Cho Hee-yeon on Wednesday morning in front of the education office in Jongno district of Seoul. Despite the rainy weather, more than 3,000 parents of autonomous private high school in Seoul (1,500 persons by police estimation) attended the protest.
Before the protest, parents held a press conference to state Re-evaluation of already evaluated high schools and stripping their status are abuse of the superintendents discretionary power. Superintendent Cho must resign to take responsibilities for pushing ahead with school re-evaluation, throwing the society and schools into confusion, and breaking down the law and order. Parents also said, The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education pursues to get rid of the autonomous private high schools right to interview and screen students. This aims to wither autonomous private high schools and eventually abolish them. The Seoul education office must withdraw its announcement of autonomous private high school re-evaluation results, which is scheduled on Thursday.
The representatives of parents asked for a meeting with Superintendent Cho but it was not realized. The education office said, It is possible to hold a meeting between superintendent and autonomous private high school parents after Thursday, when the announcement is made. Yang Soon-ju, one of the autonomous private high school parents, said, There is no point of having a meeting after the re-evaluation result announcement. It will be a mere notification. Principal Kim Yong-bok of Baejae High School, one of the candidate schools to be stripped of its status, said, Group of principals will appoint a lawyer soon for legal actions including petition of a provisional injunction and administration litigation.
Meanwhile, the Seoul education office unveiled the Program for Golden Age of Ordinary High Schools on the same day.
This program plans to increase school operating expenses up to 100 million won (98,173 U.S. dollars), which is currently around 50 million won (49,086 dollars) a year. Under the program, school operating expenses for schools in poor educational conditions will be increased first and personnel designated for education donation will be hired to induce external funds including donation. The program also states to reform how to assign students to schools from 2016 school year, in aims to reduce the educational gap among schools. Detailed methods are not determined yet.