|A public official disinfects a cram school in Mok-dong, southwestern Seoul, June 1, amid the spread of COVID-19. Korea Times Photo by Ko Young-kwon|
By Bahk Eun-ji
An association representing private cram school owners said Monday that it strongly opposed a proposed revision bill that will empower the education minister or provincial superintendents to order them to close when there is a serious alert for infectious diseases such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
While the revision is being pushed for the first time in four years ― since the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2015 ― owners of the private academies claim the bill infringes on their “property rights.”
In particular, they are against part of the revision that stipulates stricter requirements for them to receive government compensation in the event of forced closures.
“We agree with the government’s efforts to curb the coronavirus spread, but if you look at the revision closely, compensation for academies is only provided when public schools are closed,” said an official of the Korea Association of Hagwons (KAH). Hagwon is the Korean name for the private education institutes. “It seems the government is trying to avoid paying compensation for closures.”
According to the Ministry of Education, Rep. Kim Chul-min of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), a member of the National Assembly Education Committee, recently