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MOEHRD Shelves NEIS Plan, Education Community in Turmoil

MOEHRD Shelves NEIS Plan, Education Community in Turmoil

Posted May. 26, 2003 21:23,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOEHRD) caved in pressure from the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) threatening to take a mass vacation day, and decided to exempt schools` academic, health and admission affairs from the planned teachers and students database system, or NEIS. It has also agreed to reexamine its plan to implement NEIS entirely.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Yoon held a press interview in the morning of May 26 and said, ˝The ministry decided to adopt NEIS for 24 areas of the total 27, while delaying implementation of NEIS in the three privacy problem areas as recommended by the National Human Rights Commission.˝

˝NEIS will be used for high school seniors to avoid any mishaps in college entrance exams this year but for students in lower grades, school affairs, health and admission areas will be returned to the old CS system temporarily until February 2004,˝ Yoon added.

The seven-month period set for CS is seen as controversial, however, since the old system is more vulnerable to human rights violations than the planned NEIS. It is also likely to invite complication and unfairness in dealing with student data by requiring handwriting work and operations with individual computers unlinked to the network.

˝We will form an evaluation commission comprising legal experts, information experts and teachers to reevaluate the NEIS system by Dec. 31, 2003,˝ said Yoon. ˝The decision was made in line with the human rights commission`s recommendation and also a political move aimed to address such touchy issues as growing chasm in the education community and disruptions in school teaching.˝

Education superintendents nationwide, however, boycotted a planned meeting with the ministry saying that it would not accept the ministry`s decision. The Korean Federation of Teachers Association and the Korea Union of Teaching and Education Workers also refused to use the old CS system and cooperate with the education ministry, calling for resignation of Minister Yoon.

Meantime, KTU said in a statement, ˝We welcomed the education ministry`s decision as a landmark in the history of human rights.˝ The progressive teachers group ended the hunger strike and withdrew its plan to take a collective action.

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com