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

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of his insistence on personalism and subjectivism as the proper means to the
evaluation of moral behavior. [37

Re.lpectfor Educational Officials, Teachers, Students

The essence ofYu's plan to replace the examination system was to reinstitute
official schools throughout the country to educate men to better appreciation of
moral wisdom and the cultivation of truly moral behavior, and then using the
recommendation of superior moral individuals to promote students through the
school system and eventually to select the best of them for office in the central
government. Ifthe Choson school system were to become the basis for both edu-
cation and recruitment, it was necessary first to improve the quality of educa-
tional officials and teachers. Yu complained that the current educational officials
had long been held in low esteem because they were the products of the exam-
ination system. The so-called instructors (Kyosu) were only supernumeraries,
and the post of local educational official (Hundo) was the most despised of aiL
Yu pointed out that in the late sixteenth century Yulgok, in his famous "Ques-
tions and Answers at the Eastern Lake" (TollRho mundap), had statcd that the
Hundo had been reduced to such straitened circumstances that the only way they
could escape starvation was by extracting fees from the students. The quality
of the Hundo had to be improved by recommendation and their prestige ele-
vated as well. Yulgok had also remarked that if a provincial governor or even a
minister of the first rank happened to visit a local schooL the Hundo should not
rush out to greet him in obsequious fashion but remain inside the gate. The cur-
rent practice of inspection by which the provincial governor examined the Hundo
along with the students when he visited schools during the spring and fall also
had to be eliminated because it was too degrading. The only way a teacher should
be evaluated was by observation and examination of his students to see whether
they had been properly educated and if they displayed the proper deportment.
The governor would then recommend the bcst teachers for promotion and pun-
ish or dismiss the worst. The most unqualified teachers had to be eliminated as
well, "those who as in former times are covetous of property, base and boorish,
lacking in proper deportment, and given to drinking and fooling around with
Yu's plan to upgrade the quality, status, and treatment of educational officials
and teachers was also inspired by the views of two Chinese writers, Yu Chi of
the Yuan dynasty, and his favorite, eh'iu Chun of the Ming, both of whom com-
plained that local teachers in their own time were of such low caliber that they
had (0 be replaced by a state-supported search for outstanding scholars. eh'iu
urged the court to select these officials with due caution and force the popula-
tion to treat them with the courtesy they deserved or suffer punishment as a con-
seq uence! [3Y
Yu proposed adopting eh'eng Hao's "courtesy appointment" (yemyiing) plan
for recruiting eminent scholars directly into government service, onc that Yul-

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