According to the ministry’s new manual, schools are now required to actively reach out to any student who is absent without previous notification.
Within a day or two, schools are required to call the homes of missing students and have to make a personal visit within five days. An interview with the legal guardian is required within eight days, and a constant check-up by the school officials is mandated after nine days.
Current regulations state that schools should “encourage” parents to start sending students back to school after they have missed school for seven days for no reason, but it has been often glossed over given that it is not legally binding.
However, the new rules also lack binding power.
“Right now, we have no punishment (against those not complying with the manual),” said a ministry official closely related to the drafting of the new rules. “The plan is to complement the minor details of the current measure, not to overhaul it completely.”
The official added that the ministry plans to revise the related law within the first half of this year.
The Education Ministry’s move was sparked off by recent incidents where students who have skipped school for extensive period of time were belatedly found to have been abused or even killed by their parents.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)