Source : Korea Herald
8 Nov 2010
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will almost quadruple the free education budget next year, officials said Monday.
The office unveiled its final budget plan for next year, which amounts to 6.6 trillion won, a 4.7 percent increase from this year.
A total of 249 billion won is to be allocated to free education, a 376.7 percent rise from this year’s 52.2 billion won, according to the budget plan.
Of that amount, 116.2 billion won is to be used for free meals in elementary schools, officials said.
From next year, students in all public elementary schools are to be provided with free meals, a project to be co-financed by the office, the metropolitan government and the local district.
The free meal project, though a controversial issue between the ruling camp and the opposition camp, has been a major campaign of Seoul Educational Superintendent Kwak No-hyun.
The education office has also increased the financial support programs for students from low-income families.
The education support fund for low-income family preschool children has been raised by 51.4 percent from 29.5 billion won to 75 billion won, officials said.
However, the budget for repairing and exchanging deteriorated buildings and facilities has been cut by 27.1 percent.
“We have focused on improving the quality of public education and thus cut down on other sectors which require relatively less attention,” said an official of the education office.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)