Press Briefing of Seoul-Education Office “Seoul of Global Education Innovation “
Date November 17th, 2014 | Venue Briefing Room, Seoul City Hall
It is a great pleasure to meet you. I am the mayor of Seoul, Park Wonsoon. Honorable Cho Heeyeon, the superintendent of Seoul Education, and I are honored to stand here to make history in Seoul Education. Education in Korea has long been a competition-based uniform education, with heavy focus on cramming for exams. Our children have been stuck in schools and cram schools at an age when they were supposed to go out and play. Education focused on academic performance has created difficulties in developing creativity, communication and empathy skills, patience, and tolerance. It has even shaken some students’ personalities to the core. I announced the Educational Seoul Master Plan, Seoul’s first master plan regarding education, at the end of March to address these problems.
However, it was not easy to solve the immediate problem of education either with efforts by the Seoul Government or by the Seoul Education Office. Mr. Cho and I deeply agreed that the government and the education office should work together hand-in-hand to solve Seoul’s education problems.
We met in June to review projects that the government and the education office could jointly conduct. After in-depth discussions between the government and staff of the education office as well as citizens and experts related to education, we finally decided to conduct twenty education cooperative projects. This may very well be the first time in Korea that the two institutions have cooperated from the planning stage to establish a joint project plan.
As you are well aware, after education autonomy and general autonomy were separated, this kind of cooperation became difficult to manage. Seoul and the education office will stay together at every stage of execution and evaluation of twenty cooperative projects. For a better environment, we will make better education policies together.
To keep this promise for the ten million citizens of Seoul, Mr. Cho and I would like to make an announcement on the Seoul Education Innovation plan. While reducing expenses and improving educational environments, we will continue education welfare as well. Today’s announcement is not an abstract or empty promise. We will prepare specific plans and execution plans one at a time.
Our institutions will not divide tasks, each stuck in the frame of its own authority. We will break the fence and work together for true cooperation. We will thus open an era of true cooperative governance. Mr. Cho and I will do our best to create an education environment in which children, youth, and citizens are all happy, and we will nurture these precious human resources for the future. We will make a new history of local autonomy and education autonomy in Korea. Thank you very much.