Seoul student rights bill disliked by national governmentBy Nathan Schwartzman Dec 27, 2011 12:14PM UTC
Original article in Korean is at this link.
It appears that the students’ rights ordinance in Seoul will be reconsidered. The Ministry of Science, Education, and Technology plans to ask the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to reconsider. If the Ministry asks the city Office to reconsider, the Office must send revisions to the City Council.
Oh Seung-gyeol, head of school culture at the Ministry, said on the 23rd that “the government has clearly expressed its view that the students’ rights ordinance should be reconsidered… however, if SMOE does not request the City Countil to take action, we can do nothing.” The Ministry had previously said that “the ordinance did not consider the opinions of those it would affect and revisions to it should be considered.” The ordinance, which went into effect on the 19th, requires schools to permit candlelight vigils on school grounds, bans corporal punishment, allows freedom in hairstyles and dress, and permits homosexuality.
SMOE has said it would comply with a request for reconsideration. An official with SMOE said that “we are considering a request for revisions because we did consider the effect on grades… if the Ministry requests a reconsideration then SMOE will do so.” The Minister of Education has said he will send a request for reconsideration to those provincial and municipal offices of education which have already decided to reconsider.
If the ordinance is reconsidered it is not unlikely that the City Council will reject changes. Two out of three three council members must vote in favor for there to be changes. That means if 54 of the 87 council members vote in favor, it would fail.
Some say that reconsideration would improve the education environment. Jeong Mun-jin, a Grand National Party member of the committee on education, said that “we must consider not only student rights but also the educational environment.”