(2nd LD) Education minister offers to resign amid criticism of proposal to lower school entry age
(ATTN: UPDATES paras 6-7 with minister's quotes; REPLACES photo)
SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- Education Minister Park Soon-ae offered to resign Monday, just 34 days after taking office, amid criticism she mishandled key school policy proposals, such as lowering the elementary school entry age.
Park has been under pressure to step down after many teachers and parents protested strongly against lowering the school entry age by one year to 5. She has been criticized for announcing the proposal without sufficient preparations, such as collecting public opinion.
Her ministry had also unveiled a plan to abolish foreign language high schools, only to retract it days later.
Should President Yoon Suk-yeol accept the resignation, Park will be the first Cabinet minister to step down since Yoon took office in May.
A professor at Seoul National University's graduate school of public administration, Park took office on July 5 as education minister, doubling as deputy prime minister for social affairs.
"I am going to resign as education minister and deputy prime minister," Park said in a press conference.
"All the responsibilities for the controversy are on me and my faults," she said.
A ruling party official said earlier in the day Park was expected to step down Monday.
"I understand that Deputy Prime Minister Park will express her intent to resign sometime today," the official told Yonhap News Agency.
Her resignation would effectively amount to her dismissal as President Yoon Suk-yeol reportedly made up his mind to fire her during his vacation last week.
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