Corporal punishment at hagwon to be banned
By Kang Shin-who, The Korea Times, August 31, 2010

The Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education, headed by liberal Superintendent Kim Sang-gon, will seek to impose sanctions on cram schools or hagwon that illegally use corporal punishment on students.

Kim has instructed officials to list hagwon where teachers beat students and infringe upon their human rights. Under the Education Law, the privately-run entities must follow guidance, set by regional education offices.

Kim has sought to apply the ordinance for the protection of students’ basic human rights in the region since last year and the provincial government council is likely to pass the bill this year.

It is said that hagwon teachers often hit students as a means to get them to study harder.

An official at Heitz Academy, a hagwon in the province said, “There is no reason for us to refuse to obey the decision. Also, our institute teachers don’t beat students.”

The Hagwon Association also welcomed the corporal punishment-free policy.
Hagwon Association Director: “Any kind of human rights infringement shouldn’t be tolerated..."

“Any kind of human rights infringement shouldn’t be tolerated at hagwon as well. We will cooperate with the education office by sending a letter banning corporal punishment in the province,” said a general director of the association.

Earlier, the superintendent called on some 50 supervisors dealing with student life and stressed that corporal punishment should be banned in Korea. Instead, Kim plans to introduce alternative programs to replace physical punishment.

Despite resistance from conservative groups, the educator, supported by unionized teachers, is seeking to legislate ordinance, which is set to guarantee the dignity, value and rights of students.

Under the draft, students will be given the right to choose whether they participate in classes outside regular school hours. They will also have the right to choose which clothes and hairstyle they wear.


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