Specialized School Students, We Want Safety!
Specialized School Students, We Want Safety!
  • Reporter Lee Ha-jun
  • 승인 2018.01.01 15:17
  • 댓글 0
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   ▲ People cherishing the memory of student Lee Min-ho
Last November, Lee Min-ho, a student of a specialized high school in Jeju-Island died due to an accident during a field placement. He was working in a beverage factory, and was pressed in a product loader press. Another student working in a Styrofoam factory attempted suicide, and is in critical condition. Last April, a student working in a customer service center committed suicide because she could not bear the huge amount of work, and stress from the customers. There are many more examples, and along with these accidents, people are asking for improvements in the field placement system for specialized school students.
Due to these accidents, the government has made an apology, and announced that from 2018, the field placement, or as to say, 'early employment' will be abolished. It is that, 'labor-concentrated placement' will turn into 'education-centered placement'. However, specialized schools and students are in complete confusion, because this policy is entirely opposing the purpose of specialized schools. Specialized school were established to educate students with special talents and give them field experience. Each students’ capability and aptitude for work was to be raised, and providing them with a great opportunity to be employed was its objective. However, due to this announcement, teachers are now confused about how to instruct the students. People are criticizing that the government did not consider the situations of these students, and is just making a temporary evasion.
The government’s stance is that field placement is not entirely abolished, but the period will be shortened. Until now, students could work for six months at maximum, but from 2018, the students are recommended to experience work for a month, for a maximum of three months. But this is also opposed by teachers and by corporations because students with a month of experience cannot learn that much, and they cannot be employed. Also, in the case of software developing companies, there is almost no probability for safety accidents to occur, and this policy is unreasonable for these kind of industries. There are concerns that academic-industry cooperation will decrease due to this situation.
The effects of the accidents and policy are illustrated in the decrease in applications for specialized schools from 2018. In Seoul, 44 schools (62.8% out of the total specialized schools in Seoul) has a shortfall in applicants. Compared to last year, which is 16 schools, the amount of the shortfall is tremendous. In Busan, 14 schools out of 33 schools are short of students. Of course, the decrease in total number of students is also the problem, but negative perceptions need to be improved.
Students have their purpose and objective to improve their skills, talents, and aptitude. Schools and companies need to provide safe and educational environments for these students, and this is what students really want. The government’s job is to supervise and observe the process, not just evade responsibility. A better policy taking into consideration the actual conditions of working sites is most definitely needed.