Private kindergartens filed a petition with the Constitutional Court last month, challenging an Education Ministry ordinance that requires them to use a state-managed online accounting system.
Some 340 chiefs of private kindergartens with over 200 students each filed the petition May 24, accusing the ministry of infringing on their rights and saying the regulation has no basis in law. The signatories represent about 60 percent of all private kindergartens with more than 200 children.
On the same day, 167 of the petitioners also filed an administrative suit seeking to invalidate the ordinance.
The government introduced the online accounting system, Edufine, early this year after a state audit conducted last year found widespread financial irregularities involving the use of state funds by a number of kindergarten operators.
The kindergarten owners argue that it is unfair to require them to use Edufine when private kindergartens are private property, belonging to individual businesses, with most of the operating costs borne by the owners.
They say the mandatory use of Edufine infringes on their constitutional rights, including occupational freedom and property rights.
Many kindergartens are also reportedly having trouble logging on to Edufine due to technical issues.
The Education Ministry says the ordinance is valid under the law.
The Korea Kindergarten Association said it had nothing to do with either the Constitutional Court petition or the administrative suit.
Education authorities had revoked KKA’s license in April following a series of collective actions that caused inconvenience for families and aroused public criticism.
To protest the mandatory use of Edufine, some KKA members had threatened to postpone the start of the spring semester in March.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)