Chairman You Sung-yop of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee said he is determined to make the committee productive upon taking office as chairman of the committee. Thanks to these efforts, he said, his committee managed to raise the rate of passing bills to 14 percent in the first half of this year.
Chairman You, also a leader of the special committee on political reform at the National Assembly, pledged to do his best to ensure political reform that can reflect on people’s will. The following are excerpts of an interview between NewsWorld and Chairman You in which he spoke of many things, including pending major tasks to be urgently addressed.
Question: Will you elaborate on major legislation your committee has acted on since you took office as chairman of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee?
Answer: As I was inaugurated as chairman of the committee, I declared my determination to make the committee a productive one. The National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee was once dubbed as one of the worst committees since ruling and opposition party sides were at loggerheads.
I persuaded the committee that it should do something even though the nation was preoccupied with revelations over former president Park Geun-hye’s confidant Choi Soon-sil. The committee managed to pass the Act on Special Accounts on Daycare and Public Education, solving the issue of the government budget for the so-called Nuri Process daycare.
It also paved the way for the passage of measure to revise the Act on School Sites, which was a financial issue revolving around the cost of securing school sites in the process of implementing housing projects. Thanks to these efforts, my committee managed to raise the rate of passing bills to 14 percent in the first half of this year.
Chairman You Sung-yop of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, presides over a committing meeting.
Q: What major measures are pending at the committee?
A: Bills being submitted to the committee during the plenary session of the parliament stand at 115. They include a measure to partly change the Act on Private School that would send assets of private schools shut down due to management graft and corruption to the national treasury; a revision bill of the Act on the Prevention of School Violence that would raise the neutrality and expertise of autonomous committees on school violence; an amendment measure on the Act on Public Educational Personnel that would work out mid- and long-term measures and plans on the supply of public educational personnel; and a revision bill of the Act on Cultural Burial Properties that would set the statue of limitations on the theft of cultural properties.
Dignitaries, including Chairman You Sung-yop of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, poses for a photo session after the committee signed an MOU on joint projects to protect youth with the Korea Association of Game Industry the at the parliament on
Q: Will you explain your committee’s pending issues?
A: Among the most significant pending issues of the educational circle are the overhauling of the college scholastic ability test, policies on the supply of primary and secondary school teachers, and school violence. A scheme to revamp the college scholastic ability test into an absolute evaluation has been suspended for one year, somewhat easing confusion and chaos. Students, parents and universities are still raising serious concerns about the dramatic change.
Policy mismanagement on the supply of public teachers has emerged as a task to be addressed immediately. This issue needs to be handled with precision in the long-term perspective, not by short-term stop-gap measures. The latest school violence involving Busan middle school students has revealed the seriousness of the situation.
Korea’s successful hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and measures to salvage the tourism industry, which is now in a crisis due to China’s retaliation against the installation of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system and North Korean nuclear issues are some of the major pending tasks of the committee.
Q: What parliamentary activities do you want to carry out?
A: First of all, I, as chairman of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, am concentrating on finding solutions to the pending issues related to education, culture, sports and several other areas. Public demand has been mounting over the revision of the Constitution in the wake of the mismanagement of state affairs in 2016. The new government has been inaugurated with the establishment of a special committee on political reform for discussions at the National Assembly. Politics have to be updated to make the nation new again. I, also a leader of the special committee on political reform at the National Assembly, will do my best to ensure political reform that can reflect on the people’s will.
Chairman You Sung-yop of the National Assembly Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee, hailing from Gochang, Jeollabuk-do, gives a speech at a meeting with his constituents. (Photos: Chairman You Sung-yop’s Office)
Q: How does your committee plan to reinvigorate the inbound tourism industry?
A: The Korean tourism industry is being swayed by outside factors, including political and diplomatic ones. The tourism deficit swelled to 8.6 trillion won in the first seven months of this year.
If this continues unchecked, the tourism deficit is projected to surge to about 17 trillion won in the whole of the year. Before it’s too late, parliament and government should come up with countermeasures. On top of the diversifying of inbound tourism markets, we seek to facilitate financial support for tourism SMEs by expanding the extension of tourism funds. With the nation’s hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games next year, a foothold needs to be established to reinvigorate Hallyu (Korean Wave). A supplementary budget, including money for tourism and the support of the PyeongChang Olympiad, has been approved. We plan to offer parliamentary support to smooth out the future spending of the budget.