The Education Ministry said Tuesday it would prohibit schools from taking disciplinary measures against students for being pregnant or in a relationship.
The ministry ordered local education offices to revise related school regulations that it considers an improper breach of their rights to study.
Controversy stirred earlier this year when two high school students received an official reprimand of volunteer work for being in a relationship. One of them was removed from a position as class president. The school, in the southeastern part of the country, had required students to report private relationships along with violence and bullying.
In some other schools in Seoul and the surrounding areas, similar regulations were introduced at the parents’ request.
Under the new guidelines, schools are required to amend any rules that allowed them to suspend or expel pupils for being pregnant or in a relationship.
Local education offices will monitor and support schools as they implement the new rule.
The Ministry of Education also recommended schemes that could help teenage single mothers continue their studies.
For single mothers who seek transfers or admission to another school, the ministry allowed school principals to decide the graduation year for those pupils based on previously acquired credits and learning experience outside of school.
Once a student is pregnant, the school should also introduce an alternative program to help her remain on the school register.
Nine alternative schools for teenage single mothers currently exist in the country, including Narae and Dodam in Seoul.
By Lee Hyun-jeong