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A Study on The Designation Criteria of The Seoul-type Alternative School

Hyesook Lee·Yunjung Cho

Every year about 10,000 youths in Seoul quit their studies and leave their schools. To provide alternate opportunities for these “youths out of school” to learn and/or develop their careers, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has been supporting unauthorised alternative schools with teacher’s salary, tuition fees, and school meal expense.
In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced a plan to designate a ‘Seoul-type Alternative School’ earlier this year, to protect the right of youths out of school to learn at the level of public education. The purpose of this study is to design the criteria for selecting a Seoul-type Alternative School and the management strategy.
For this purpose firstly, we conducted a survey and focus group interview(FGI) to identify the current status of unauthorised alternative schools in Seoul. Based on the survey results, the policy goal of the Seoul-type Alternative School was set as “Guarantee equal learning rights for youth outside school for high quality education”.
To achieve this goal, the following five policy directions were proposed: (1) Expand government support to strengthen the publicity of alternative education; (2) Strengthen the accountability of the Seoul-type Alternative School; (3) enhance the professionalism of teachers and education; (4) strengthen the diversity of education; and (5) secure financial transparency and democratic procedures in management.
The criteria for designation consisted of three mandatory items and two additional items. The mandatory items were ‘qualification of teachers’, ‘education space’ and ‘curriculum’, which are the key elements for educational activities. The additional items were ‘transparency in management’ and ‘independence and democratic procedure in management’.
A minimum standard was set to lower the entry barriers for the existing unauthorised alternative schools. In other words, this will provide minimum qualifications to be equipped as a school, such as the stability of the educational space and guarantee of the quality of education, thus providing more opportunity for youth outside the school to get a chance for higher quality education in the future.