SEOUL, April 3 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite strong opposition from some conservative groups, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has stipulated the protection of sexual minority rights in the student rights plan, the first in its history, that it unveiled on Thursday.
In accordance with the Seoul Metropolitan Student Human Rights Ordinance, the student human rights plan should be established and implemented at an interval of three years.
Under the vision of guaranteeing human rights in everyday life at schools in Seoul, the latest plan consists of five policy goals, ten policy directions and 20 policy tasks.
Under the plan, the Seoul education office will protect minority students, including sexual minorities, while strengthening human rights education.
It will operate a human rights support group for disabled students at 11 educational support agencies, aimed at supporting the convenience facilities established to guarantee the learning rights of disabled students.
To protect students from multicultural families, the office will run a multicultural education support center, allowing multicultural students outside schools to make admission.
With respect to the protection of sexually minority students, the office will support consultations on human rights infringement cases, including discrimination and hatred, while strengthening sexual equality monitoring on educational and promotional materials.
To improve the awareness of minorities, it will carry out human rights education for students and teachers alike, while making and distributing preventive guidebooks against discriminatory and hate expressions.
Recently, some conservative Christian groups strongly opposed the draft of the plan that includes the protection of sexually minorities and sexual equality education. Nonetheless, the office confirmed the plan without omitting such content.
Accordingly, opposition from such groups and subsequent disputes are likely to continue.
The office also took steps to protect the human rights of the student athletes. It will conduct consultations with student athletes on a regular basis and toughen punishment for incidents involving violence or abuse.
The learning rights and break times for student athletes will be guaranteed to enhance their basic academic skills.
Moreover, the office will invigorate students’ autonomous activities as well as increase their participation in school operations as a part of efforts to make schools more human rights friendly.
With the voting age lowered to 18, high school seniors are now able to vote. Against this backdrop, education on elections will be strengthened and support will be given to encourage students to discuss and debate social issues.
The office will also clear the way for students to participate in the process of establishing and changing school life regulations.
To improve students’ understanding of other cultures, it will carry out dual language education and mutual culture education.
For multicultural students, the office will provide a variety of support, including customized Korean language education, career path consultation and psychological/emotional consultation services.
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)