|The public’s opinion of Edufine in kindergartens|
In the beginning of March, Edufine became mandatory for private kindergartens. Under the amendment, private kindergartens must use Edufine to handle accounting work. At first, it was introduced at 581 large kindergartens which have more than 200 children and then applied to all private kindergartens by the 1st of March. The conflict between the government and private kindergartens has deepened due to the disagreement over Edufine.
The National Management Accounting System, Edufine, is used in elementary, middle, high schools and now also kindergartens. This system records everything related to the budget, including the cost of purchasing supplies, operating expenses for school meals, student welfare, field trips, facilities, and external instructor fees The educational institutions are required to enter both budget and settlement details. The institutions will use the e-deposit system that is part of Edufine rather than the private banking transaction system. In other words, the budget implemented by the educational institution is all recorded on Edufine and the accounting details can be checked by the education authorities every month to prevent irregularities in the input process.
However, the Korea Kindergarten Federation (KFTA) held a large-scale demonstration, which involved 20,000 people including kindergarten teachers and directors. The protest delayed the starting of school. The reason for the rejection of Edufine was simple: “private kindergartens are private property and should not be required to follow the national accounting system.” Protestors said that they are concerned that it violates private property rights, although they agree with the purpose of securing transparency in accounting. One of the directors of kindergarten said that they should consider the rights of the founder because he built the building on his land with his own money with his private property. For this reason, they need to create separate ‘fee items’ for use of facilities in the Edufine of the national accounting system. They are also demanding full support of labor costs for all teachers like private elementary, middle, and high schools.
Parents of kindergarteners had a negative reaction to the protests. On the bulletin board of the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, suggestions were made for the withdrawal of the KFTA. A working mother said “I have received a one-sided notice which is about delaying the start of school and have been anxious so far.” She added, “The director who puts prioritizes profits over the love of children and the promise to parents should be expelled from the educational community.”
Most of the Korean citizenry see the new system positively. According to a recent survey by the Education Ministry, more than 80 percent of the population supported the introduction of the National Management Accounting System (Edufine) at private kindergartens. At the request of Korean citizens, the KFTA ended its postponement of the starting of school on the 9th of March. As a result, the participation rate of private kindergartens increased from 55% to 80%. But many directors of kindergartens who have joined and participated in Edufine said that they want to continue dialogue with the government about Edufine.
By Park Jun-ho, reporter
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