Ex-minister ordered officials to promote unpopular plan to change school entry age on mums forums

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) — Former education minister Park Soon-ae had ordered ministry officials to leave positive comments on mom forums when her proposal to lower the entrance age to the school has drawn widespread criticism, several sources said on Sunday.

Park, who resigned earlier this month after his proposal to lower the school entry age by one year to 5 furious parents, stressed the need for public relations to be stepped up on the controversial plan after calling a meeting of senior ministry officials, the sources said.

She asked participants to leave comments on relevant online posts, explaining that the policy is part of efforts to strengthen public education and that the government will consider public opinion in developing the proposal. , and to notify him of the comments by SMS.

Park then took over the order after ministry officials feared the comments would backfire and escalate public opinion over the unpopular proposal. Critics claimed the proposal came without sufficient preparations and could deepen the country’s fierce competition in schools.

Park, who also served as deputy prime minister for social affairs, resigned in early August after just 34 days in office, becoming the first cabinet member of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration to step down.

At a parliamentary briefing held after his resignation, Vice Education Minister Jang Sang-yoon said it had become “really difficult” to move the policy proposal forward, hinting at the abandonment of the proposal that caused public outcry.

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