+ A

KMLA maintains special status

School can continue to be ‘autonomous’ as it received passing score
July 02,2019
The Korean Minjok Leadership Academy (KMLA), an elite boarding school in Hoengseong County, Gangwon, will maintain its status as an autonomous private high school.

“The Korean Minjok Leadership Academy, an autonomous private high school, received a score of over 70 in an assessment on its management,” said an employee of the Gangwon Provincial Office of Education on Monday. “It has passed its assessment as an autonomous private high school.”

Autonomous private high schools are financially independent from the government. In return, they are granted more freedom in picking students, developing their curriculums and charging tuition.

In order for autonomous private high schools to maintain their autonomous statuses, schools must score a minimum of 70 points out of 100 in their assessment by local education offices every five years. The assessments follows guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education, and local education offices can choose to follow the guidelines or alter them. KMLA scored 79.77 in its assessment of whether the school should be able to keep its status as an autonomous private high school.

The assessment of KMLA by the Gangwon Provincial Office of Education was more challenging than the last. Additional evaluations were made about the effort put into improving classes and whether the school’s corporate body will transfer a portion of its funds from student entrance fees and tuition to the school to be used for the school’s management.

The autonomous private high school system was started by the Kim Dae-jung administration in 2002 to diversify high school education, which had been solely focused on preparing students for the excessively competitive college entrance exam. KMLA was one of the first schools designated as an autonomous private high school in 2002.

The Moon Jae-in administration wants to scrap autonomous private high schools across the nation. It hopes to achieve what it describes as equality for all students in education and competition.

Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said that she plans to eliminate autonomous private high schools that don’t serve their original purpose.

“Autonomous private high schools were created to give students a chance [for] diverse and creative education,” said Yoo. “The competition to get into universities has intensified [to the point where it] starts with children in elementary schools, which resulted in distorting the educational system.”

As of Monday, the fate of 10 autonomous private high schools has been announced by local education offices across the country. Of the 10, Sangsan High School in Jeonju, North Jeolla, Dongsan Christian High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi, and Haeundae High School in Busan have failed to receive a passing score in their assessments. The remaining autonomous private high schools waiting for their fates to be announced are 13 schools in Seoul and the Incheon Posco Academy. KMLA will maintain its autonomous status for five more years starting 2020.

BY PARK JIN-HO, JUNG MYUNG-SUK [jung.myungsuk@joongang.co.kr]