President Moon Jae-in stressed the importance of variety in public education Wednesday, while calling for government efforts to reduce financial burdens on students and their parents.
"What I especially want to stress to the education ministry is that there must never be standardized education that undermines variety," he said while meeting with officials from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for a policy briefing.
"The fourth industrial revolution requires talent with imagination and creativity that are free from any set frames. Schools must not become production facilities that produce standardized parts," the president added.
Wednesday's meeting, held at the government complex in Sejong, located some 120 kilometers south of Seoul, marked the sixth of its kind involving officials from government ministries for discussions on ways to implement the new administration's key policy objectives. The last such session will be held Thursday.
The president also called for efforts to reduce the cost of public education, as well as personal spending on private education.
"We can never overemphasize the country's responsibility for education. I urge you to come up with innovative measures that can lessen the people's burden for education from childhood throughout college and also greatly reduce their spending on private education," the president said, according to pool reports.
He then called for more transparency in college admissions, saying the process must be simple and fair.
"I ask you to keep in mind that the country's future cannot be bright unless its education is fair, so it can be a bridge of hope," Moon said.
He also called for more transparency in the cultural sector, noting the so-called blacklist of cultural figures believed to have been created and enforced under the ousted former leader, Park Geun-hye, to keep those deemed critical of her administration from government support could never be justified.
"We must approach culture with a view that it is a basic human right. The artists' right to create is the right to free speech under the Constitution and a basic right that no one may violate.
No government or any power has the authority to limit such a basic right," the president said.
Moon also vowed additional support for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in PyeongChang, located some 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
"I will personally do all I can to help," he said, adding his decision to attend the United Nations general assembly in New York next month was partly aimed at promoting the upcoming sporting event in the country. (Yonhap)