Confucian Statecraft and Korean Institutions. Yu Hyongwon and the Late Choson Dynasty - James B. Palais

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trol and auspices. 150 This formula was based obviously on the apparently para-
doxical proposition that true scholars could have more independence operating
inside a state school system than in the private academies, but Yu was obviously
more worried about the pressures for conformity in academies controlled by spe-
cific political and scholarly factions.
Yu's regulations also called for the establishment of a special Peer's School
(Chonghak) that would accommodate male relatives of the royal clan
(chongch 'in) who had undergone the capping ceremony initiating them into adult-
hood. Regulations for etiquette and ritual conduct at the Peer's School required
that the students would have to demonstrate rcspect for school officials at all
times and conform to standard rules for education and testing despite the supe-
riority of their status as members of the royal clan. 151
The headmasters and assistant headmasters of the schools were to be given
high rank to reinforce their status, an obvious concession to the prestige attached
to official rank in the real world rather than scholarly merit and ethical behav-
ior without such formal trappings of recognition. School officials were to be
selected from able scholars and teachers and function as full-time educators,
rather than as concurrencies held by regular functionaries. Educational officials
in the prefectures and districts were to take their families with them and be kept
on duty for the full term of their office, suggesting that the current practice fell
far short of thi s ideal. I 52
Following the recommendation of Ch'eng I of the Sung, Yu also proposed
establishing a Hall for Respected and Worthy Scholars (Ch6nhy6ndang) in the
National Academy, and he adopted the precedent established by Chu Hsi when
he was a district magistrate for introducing the position of Visiting Scholar
(Hakpin) for lower level schools.'S3 He also provided full funding for the salaries
of school officials. teachers, petty functionaries, and slaves. and for the expenses
of the schools, and the food and upkeep of the students. Even the extra-quota
students were to be provided support from official funds derived either from
special school land (hakchon) or from the regular tax revenues (kyongbi) of the
district magistrate. The purpose was not only to support the schools but to pre-
vent magistrates from taking over school funds for themselves.
He hoped also to put an end to the practice of well-to-do families donating
land and slaves to schools in return for obtaining student status for their sons
without passing the school qualification examinations so that they could gain
exemption from labor and military service taxes. He sought to do this by set-
ting quotas of school slaves (pogye) and providing them with legal exemptions
from taxes and military service, a temporary measure that could be eliminated
once his national land system was adopted. In addition, the duties of the school
slaves were to be limited to service for the school to prevent them from being
exploited for private purposes by students. I 54 The significance of his treatment
of slaves will be discussed in more detail in chapters 5 and 6.
In summary, Yu's plan called for the establishment of a government school
system extending down to the level of the district (hyon). By providing state

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