Saturday, February 9, 2013

The proposed centerpiece of the reorganized "Park Geun-hye government"

There is a great deal of discussion taking place these days about the shape of the new government that will take power later this month. Earlier this week a spokesman for the transition committee announced that the official name of the new government would be the "Park Geun-hye" government. This followed the approach used by Lee Myung-bak, but departed from an earlier practice in which President Kim Young Sam used the name "Civilian Government" to emphasize that he was the first civilian president elected after a series of military leaders, and President Kim Dae Jung used the name "Government of the People." President Roh Moo Hyun called his government the "Participatory Government."
Much of the discussion is centering on the proposed new "미래창조과학부," the official English name of which has not been announced.  It includes the words future, creation, science and ministry, but they do not translate literally into English.  Something like "Ministry for Future Scientific Innovation" might be more appropriate.
The proposed responsibilities and functions of the new ministry have already been announced.  If approved by the National Assembly it will become one of the largest ministries, with over 900 staff members.  The sheer size and importance of the ministry (it is referred to as a "super ministry,") have naturally led to discussion about where it should be located.  Some suggest that it should be headquartered in Sejong City, where a number of other branches of government are already in the process of being moved.   Others say that the government complex in Gwacheon would be a better choice, especially now that many government officials have moved from Gwacheon to Sejong City.
While much of the nation is celebrating the big Lunar New Year holiday, these discussions about the new government and its ministerial centerpiece will continue unabated.
For me, as for most readers of this blog, a most interesting aspect of the government reorganization is the manner in which the new Park Geun-hye government attempts to unify science and technology policy (STP) with information and communication technology(ICT) policy.  ICT, after all, is part of STP.  Arguably, it is the most important policy element insofar as the information revolution is the driving force in today's social, political and economic changes. We are all adjusting to the realities made possible by new digital networks, powered by ever more powerful, smaller and cheaper semiconductors, sensors and related devices.

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