Fri, 30 Sep 2022

SEOUL, South Korea: South Korea education minister Park Soon-ae said she will resign after a public backlash over her proposal to lower the school entry age.

The controversy is another personal setback for President Yoon Suk-yeol, whose approval ratings have dropped after a series of controversies.

Park's resignation comes two weeks after the ministry said, beginning in 2025 it would bring forward school enrollment by one year to age five, if it gained consensus public support.

The plan, which is intended to expand the labor force by completing the public's education one year earlier, was condemned by South Korean parents and teachers groups, which staged a rally in front of the presidential office last week.

Such young children were intellectually unprepared, and the change would increase difficulty in finding childcare, protesters said.

In a news conference announcing her resignation, Park said, "I am responsible for all the controversies, including the reorganization of the school system, and it is all my fault. I wish our children of South Korea a better future."

According to the latest survey by pollster Gallup Korea, Yoon's approval ratings have dropped to 24 percent, the lowest since he took office in May.

Respondents cited issues regarding Yoon's personnel appointments as the main reason for their disapproval, while other factors included his lack of experience and qualification, as well as his unilateral and arbitrary decision-making.

Despite promising to restore fairness and common sense in society and ensure the politics of unity, Yoon has been criticized for his selection of key personnel. Due to scandals, including allegations of abuse of power, several nominees for ministerial posts withdrew from consideration this year.

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