Korea, US agree on school bullying study
Top educational policymakers of Korea and the United States agreed Monday to conduct a joint study on bullying at schools as part of bilateral cooperation programs on education.
Under the agreement, Korea will study U.S. programs on school brutality and its efforts to strengthen community activities to provide a better learning environment, the education ministry said.
Education, Science and Technology Minister Lee Ju-ho and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Anthony Miller discussed a wide range of educational issues at their bilateral talks, held on the sidelines of the APEC Education Ministerial Meeting in Gyeongju. The meeting, one of the world’s largest educational events, kicked off Monday for a three-day run.
Lee and Miller exchanged views on the plight of schools in their respective countries. Lee introduced Korea’s efforts to reduce violence at schools, which has become a key social concern here following a series of suicides by students due to bullying. The government announced a set of measures in February to root out bullying, which includes empowering principals to suspend violent pupils from school and launching an alert system for organized student gangs.
The policymakers agreed to cooperate in collecting and analyzing data on violence as well as developing related policies, the ministry said.
Miller expressed interest in Korea’s programs to nurture teachers and educate children, saying the U.S. wants Korea’s advice for its ongoing “turnaround program” for under-performing schools. It is currently seeking to help schools employ better teachers and principals by establishing a fair evaluation system that values and authentically measures teaching skill and effectiveness.
They agreed to boost teacher exchange programs between the two countries. The two nations will hold a joint seminar on turning around under-achieving schools at the Koreana Hotel in Seoul, Thursday.
Lee also shared his view that U.S. President Barack Obama’s positive comments in recent months on Korean teachers and parents have enhanced the international recognition of Korean education, the ministry said.
He also held talks with Brunei’s Education Minister Pehin Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong on Friday. The ministers signed an agreement to boost cooperation in the development of a technology-based educational system in Brunei.
Pehin Abu Bakar showed keen interest in Korea’s smart education initiative, under which the government plans to digitalize hardcopy textbooks, reference books, dictionaries and other teaching material. It also plans to set up wireless networks at all schools to create an environment in which teachers and students can access information, anytime and anywhere, and engage in more creative activities.
Under the agreement, Korea will provide necessary technology and equipment to Brunei to help it create a technology-based learning environment, the ministry said.