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Education Ministry wastes time for 3 months amid delayed minister appointment
JULY 16, 2014 07:03  
The failure for Education Minister candidate Kim Myung-soo to pass Tuesday received criticism that the Education Ministry wasted its time for three months.

In handling the ferry Sewol sinking, Education Minister Seo Man-soo saw his position narrow due to improper behaviors, leading to the ministry delaying critical policy decisions or responding passively while reading the situations of the Presidential Office.

Candidate Kim was mired in research ethics problem and quality since designation, ultimately being a drag on the ministry. The ministry paid attention to explaining about the candidate and preparing the parliament hearing.

If the Education Ministry`s annual work process as announced in February goes as scheduled, the legislation of university structure reform should have been completed in the first half of this year, and the history textbook plan outline should have been made by June. The revised liberal arts and natural sciences education process were also due announcement in July. These issues are the major matters of primary and secondary schools` education policies, but failed to meet timeline due to absence of the minister.

The ministry delayed the liberal arts and natural sciences education plan to September. Education process experts say that if the current pace continues, the revision cannot be prepared within the year. History textbook issue was to be decided in the first half by gathering opinions of each interested sectors, but has yet to start discussion.

The ministry was planning to establish a law for university structure reform and evaluation to prepare a legal base and promote assessment in the second half for all colleges. The ministry had planned to classify universities into five grades and cut quota by 40,000 for the next three years.

However, the ministry also failed to take lead in university restructuring issues, making related laws overflow in National Assembly. The education, culture, sports and tourism committee was formed in National Assembly last month, which was composed of hard line opposition parties, leading to confusion. This has led to rising pessimism on university restructuring.

Due to clogged up policies, the ministry seems to be welcoming the designation of former Saenuri Party head Hwang Woo-yeo. Observers expect that there could be exit for pending issues during legislation such as university restructuring and national university research fund. A ministry employee said, "Hwang had served as National Assembly education committee head and so has deep understanding of education policies," adding, "I hop that he passes the parliament hearing smoothly and take lead of education policy."

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