Parents will receive various information about their children's activities in elementary and secondary schools in Seoul via cellular phone messages.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education decided Sunday to expand the message services to all elementary, middle and high schools in the city as a similar pilot program in several schools has drawn positive response from parents.
If implemented, the services would allow parents to receive set school information, including grades and schedules, via a cellular phone's text message service. Parents will also be able to consult with teachers about various issues regarding their children through the mobile communication service.
The education office is also considering overhauling the school report card system to help parents better understand children's academic progress and deficiencies.
The current report card has been criticized for failing to properly reflect students' academic performances, making it difficult for parents to grasp their children's academic standing.
``Gowon Elementary School has adopted a new report card system that evaluates students' overall school life based on not only their grades, but also extracurricular activities and social skills,'' an education official said.
He said the system has garnered good responses from parents, adding that the office plans to implement a similar system in all schools.
It will also encourage schools to establish their own charter of school service in a bid to better serve students and parents.
``Schools should voluntarily undertake reform measures aimed at turning themselves into a better learning place for teachers and students to engage in academic and other related activities,'' the official said.
He added school administrators and teachers must make constant efforts to develop various educational programs and services, which help students accomplish higher academic standards and become more responsible and civil members of society.
Meanwhile, all elementary school students will be able to learn English in regular classes starting in the fall semester this year, according to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development.
Under the project, elementary schools are to expand regular English classes to the lower grades. It will start as a trial from the second half of this year to 2007. Currently, only students in the third and higher grades take English classes.
Primary and secondary schools in free economic zones will have math and science classes in English.
The ministry plans to introduce the program in the free economic zones of Inchon, Pusan, Chinhae and Kwangyang and the free international city of Cheju on the southwestern resort island of Cheju in 2008.
It will recruit native English speakers as assistant teachers in all middle schools. Also, the ministry will reform the current school year system so that schools begin the academic year in September rather than in March.
Currently, schools operate under the 6-3-3-4 system, which means six years for elementary school, three each for middle and high school and four years for university. This will be changed to a 5-3-4-4 system, meaning elementary school will be reduced to five years and high school will be four years.