South Korea row over short school skirts

Young Japanese girls wearing school uniform
Image caption The trend for short school skirts is well established in Japan

A row over how to respond to ever-shortening school skirts is brewing in South Korea.

A local education board in Gangwon Province has announced plans to place boards in front of all school desks, to make students more "comfortable".

The local assembly in Gangwon is beginning a session on Wednesday during which they will decide whether to approve funding for the refurbishment.

The move will cost around $700,000 (£427,000).

As hemlines in Korean classrooms rise, so it seems does the cost of accommodating them.

Gangwon's Board of Education says it plans to fit boards to the front of 50,000 desks this summer to "help students sit more comfortably in class".

School rules

It is being prompted, at least in part, by the ever-shorter skirts being worn by female students.

In one survey, quoted in a local paper, school hemlines have reportedly risen 10-15cm (4-6in) in the last decade.

And that is apparently making everyone uncomfortable.

An official from the Education Board told local media that the blocking boards also had the support of teachers - who wanted to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

They do not however have the support of the Teachers' Federation here, which has put out a statement condemning the refurbishment as a waste of money.

The matter would be much more easily and cheaply resolved, it says, by enforcing the rules on school uniform.