Lib­eral su­per­in­ten­dents dom­i­nate election

The Korea Times - - ELECTIONS - By Kim Hyun-bin hyun­bin@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

In­cum­bent lib­eral ed­u­ca­tion su­per­in­ten­dents dom­i­nated elec­tions in key ar­eas around the na­tion.

Cho Hee-yeon, the in­cum­bent su­per­in­ten­dent of the Seoul Met­ro­pol­i­tan Of­fice of Ed­u­ca­tion (SMOE), has been re-elected for his sec­ond term.

Cho, the only lib­eral can­di­date in the race, took roughly half the votes as he ran against moder­ate Cho Young-dal and con­ser­va­tive Park Sun-young.

The su­per­in­ten­dent has been suc­cess­ful in ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic with a set of pledges in­clud­ing con­tro­ver­sial ones such as abol­ish­ing pri­vate and for­eign lan­guage high schools.

Cho has been try­ing to elim­i­nate the in­sti­tu­tions since he was elected for his first term in 2014.

After abol­ish­ing the in­sti­tu­tions, he plans to im­ple­ment a lot­tery sys­tem for pri­vate high school ad­mis­sions and pro­vide sup­port for schools that are tran­si­tion­ing from pri­vate to pub­lic.

The su­per­in­ten­dent also vowed to place a for­eign English teacher in ev­ery el­e­men­tary school.

Many are con­cerned if he will re­sume con­struc­tion of three spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion schools within his sec­ond term.

Res­i­dents of Jung­nang-gu, east­ern Seoul, have protested the planned con­struc­tion of a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion school in their neigh­bor­hood.

He pledged dur­ing the election cam­paign to fin­ish con­struc­tion of three spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion schools in his sec­ond term.

He also plans to al­low grade school stu­dents to use pub­lic cul­tural cen­ters in­clud­ing the Se­jong Cen­ter for the Per­form- ing Arts and Seoul Arts Cen­ter free of charge.

The can­di­date will es­tab­lish a pub­lic pe­ti­tion sys­tem mak­ing it manda­tory for SMOE to an­swer any ques­tions that ac­cu­mu­late over 100,000 sup­port­ers. Sim­i­lar to Cho, Lee Jae-jung, in­cum­bent su­per­in­ten­dent of Gyeonggi Province Of­fice of Ed­u­ca­tion, won his election eas­ily for a sec­ond term.

Lee ran against five op­po­nents but came out well ahead of the oth­ers with close to 40 per­cent of the votes. He was a pop­u­lar lib­eral can­di­date, ow­ing to his former ser­vice as uni­fi­ca­tion min­is­ter for former Pres­i­dent Roh Moo-hyun.

One of Lee’s key pledges is to re­duce the num­ber of stu­dents per class to 20 by hir­ing more teach­ers in the province.

Cur­rently the OECD av­er­age is 21.1 stu­dents per class and Korea av­er­ages 22.4, but the province has one of the high­est av­er­ages in the na­tion with 25 stu­dents per class.

“I will ne­go­ti­ate with the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry to hire 2,000 ad­di­tional teach­ers so the pol­icy can be en­forced start­ing next year,” he said.

The lib­eral su­per­in­ten­dent aims to in­crease in­no­va­tive schools, em­brac­ing one of the Moon Jae-in ad­min­is­tra­tion’s key ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies.

Kim Se­ung-hwan, su­per­in­ten­dent of ed­u­ca­tion for North Je­olla Province, beat out four oth­ers to win his sec­ond term in of­fice.

Kim plans to fo­cus on in­no­va­tive ed­u­ca­tion to bet­ter fit the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, re­duc­ing the ed­u­ca­tion gap and the cost bur­den on par­ents as well as strength­en­ing uni­fi­ca­tion ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pand­ing ed­u­ca­tion au­ton­omy.

Lee Jae-jung

Kim Se­ung-hwan

Cho Hee-yeon

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