‘Elite’ high schools to be gradually phased out
The government will encourage autonomous and other “elite” high schools to convert themselves into regular schools, the education ministry said Wednesday.
It said it will grant subsidies and other policy incentives to those elite high schools that voluntarily convert themselves.
This means the Ministry of Education has set in motion its campaign to phase out elite schools on a gradual basis. The elite schools have higher tuition fees than regular schools.
It will also revise ordinances allowing elite schools to recruit earlier than regular schools so recruitment takes place simultaneously for all of them.
The ministry reported the measures in its briefing to President Moon Jae-in at the Sejong Government Complex.
It was among Moon’s pledges to abolish elite schools to get rid of high school rankings.
“We will gradually turn elite high schools into regular schools, starting on a voluntary basis, in order to minimize chaos,” the ministry said.
The elite schools and many parents have strongly opposed the government’s plan to abolish the schools, claiming abolishing elite schools will result in education uniformity and bring down overall quality.
Elite schools are expected to have difficulty recruiting high-performing students if they are banned from recruiting earlier than other schools.
This was regarded as a problem because elite schools would recruit the most outstanding students first and deplete the pool of top students for regular schools.
In a separate report to the President, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism vowed to successfully host the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.
Culture Minister Do Jong-whan briefed the President at the government complex in Sejong on how the ministry is preparing and developing infrastructure such as accommodation and transportation facilities as well as promoting the event.
The ministry will provide 6,000 new rooms in the Gangneung and PyeongChang region to stabilize upscale lodging expenses. Five new hotels in Gangneung and Jeongseon will be completed this year and cruise ships anchoring at Sokcho Port will provide 2,200 rooms. Some 1,670 apartments in the region will be used as lodging facilities as well.
During the Winter Olympics, which will be held next February, the ministry will increase public transportation around the venues and provide free shuttles for convenience.
After the international sporting event, stadiums and facilities will be transformed into multi-purpose sports facilities for national team training and public events.
The ministry will also put in the effort to attract national attention to the Winter Olympics by hosting concerts and creating promotional videos to encourage civic participation.
In addition to the preparations for the Winter Games, the culture min- istry made efforts to protect artistic freedom, which was damaged by the blacklist of artists by the previous Park Geun-hye administration.
The ministry will establish an act protecting artists from political pressure or censorship and provide economic aid to help them make a decent living.
President Moon acknowledged the hardships the culture ministry went through during the influence-peddling scandal involving former President Park.
“The success of the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics is a national task,” Moon said. “I’ll do my best to support the events, including promoting the Winter Games at the U.N. General Assembly in September.”
President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting to receive business reports from the education and culture ministries at the second government complex in Sejong, Wednesday.