[lg policy] Moon gets 'F' in education policy

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon May 21 10:41:41 EDT 2018

 Moon gets 'F' in education policy
Posted : 2018-05-18 16:49
Updated : 2018-05-18 18:31
Moon Jae-in, then-presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea,
and Kim Sang-gon, the incumbent education minister, speak to parents about
his education policy at Daeyeong Elementary School in March 2017. Korea
Times file
By Kim Hyun-bin

Most of the education policies the Moon Jae-in administration has
introduced over the past year have been a failure by all accounts.

Marking the first-year anniversary of President Moon Jae-in's tenure,
Gallup Korea recently released a survey rating Moon and his key government
branches. Unsurprisingly, the Ministry of Education ranked at the bottom
among all departments with an approval rating of only 30 percent.

Just the number alone speaks volumes. But to make matters worse, the low
number comes even as Moon's approval rating stands at 74.5 percent,
according to a Realmeter survey released Friday.

*Policies confuse public*

People have been left in confusion during the year as few educational
policies were carefully thought out, and those who implemented them didn't
take the time to gather public opinion.

Soon after the education ministry announced new policies, such as college
admissions reform and banning afterschool English classes in daycare
centers, the plans faced a strong public backlash. This opposition led the
ministry to postpone the moves. Since then, the ministry has tried to avoid
making decisions on major issues.

In the case of college admissions reform, the education ministry tossed it
to the Presidential Committee on National Education for further review.

"The problem is the ministry is avoiding making policy decisions," Rep. Lee
Dong-sup of the Bareun Mirae Party said. "The education ministry recently
announced it will choose its final college admissions policy through public
opinion. This shows a lack of policy enforcement, conviction and philosophy
of the ministry. We need to restructure the MOE in the education committee
to quickly reduce the commotion."

*Wider inequality gap*

As a candidate, Moon vowed to reduce inequality in education. But many
experts say his policies might create an even wider gap between the "haves"
and the "have-nots."

Moon's administration banned all afterschool English classes in daycare
centers up to the second grade.
The ministry claims it is ineffective to teach a second language below the
third grade and claimed that it causes excessive stress on the children.

This goes against decades of domestic and international research, which
shows starting a second language early is better for children so they can
comprehend the language.

However, the problem is that the gap between rich and poor will inevitably
become wider. Most affluent households will seek more private education to
bypass for the ban. On the other hand, families struggling to stay afloat
will be further left behind


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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