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주제어: 사립학교법, 대학평의원회, 대학자치
The Meaning of the Revised Private Schools Act and an urgent Problem
― especially around the Academic Senate ―
Professor, Yeungnam Univ.
The National Assembly passed the reform bill of the Private Schools Act at 9 December 2005, despite strong opposition from private school owners and the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), which attempted to block the legislation. The Cabinet also approved the revision bill.
Under the revision bill special committees consisting of parents and teachers nominate one fourth of the board of directors to improve transparency in school management and prevent abuse of power by school owners. Also school owners would not be allowed to become principals of schools, and a four-year tenure system will be introduced in principal positions at private schools in the same way as national and public schools have operated.
School accounting and budgeting will be required to be reviewed under the special committees before being approved by the board of directors. Furthermore, it prohibits the number of family members or relatives of the school owner in the governing board from exceeding a quarter of the total number of directors.
The opposition party boycotted an extra Assembly session, in protest against the law, claiming that the law should be nullified. Private school operators have also decided to close down their schools and to boycott the recruitment of new students next year.
The revised school law, which will become effective on July 1, is among four key reforms that President Roh and his ruling party have been pushing.
About one third of Korean schools are private, while about 80 percent of universities are private institutions. Private schools have been under fire for their unilateral management and accounting malpractices.
The bill was designed to improve transparency in school management and prevent abuse of power by school owners, and to strengthen control on private schools to enhance transparency.
But the bill had been changed to guarantee the rights of the board of directors from one third of the board members to one fourth being elected from parents and faculty members.
And the bill only focused to raise the transparency of the country’s educational system of the private schools management, so the goal of the original bill to devide gradually the management of the board and the independence of the schools have been withdrawn.
Furthermore President Roh at the meeting with the religious leaders suggested that he would make efforts to guarantee their autonomy in the process of making the sub-provisions before the revised act comes into effect, and said, “the planned changes will not affect the content of what is taught at school or conflict with founding principles or guidelines of private schools.” “The law allows religious foundations to appoint board members who have the same religion to guarantee the autonomy of schools,” he added.
By the way subordinate ordinances will be made in a direction that will enable the schools to embody their autonomy to the maximum extent in the course of implementation, the effect of the revision will be forgotten. To hold the intention of the revision, subordinate ordinances should be made in the opposite direction. So affiliated organizations of the higher educational institutions, i.e. faculty senate, student association and staff meeting should be recognized legally, and academic senate as an organ of self-government should be established on the basis of the affiliated organizations.
In my opinion education reform is necessary to promote the independence of the schools and university autonomy.
Key words: private schools act, academic senate, university autonomy.
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