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Why Superintendents and KFTA Are Right

Posted May. 27, 2003 21:46,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced a plan to delay adoption of the National Education Information System (NEIS) yesterday after a series of compromises with the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU). In response, the rest of the education community, including education superintendents, education committee members, school principals, information system teachers, the Korea Union of Teaching and Education Workers and the Korea Federation of Teachers Associations (KFTA), is now vehemently opposed to the decision.

Education superintendents have already rejected the Ministry`s plan and KFTA, which has a larger number of members than KTU, says it would not use the old CS system. And we would like to make it clear that we support their position because the latest decision is filled with problems.

Although the ministry says that it made the decision to protect the human rights of students, the school system now seems in danger of human rights violations more than ever. The ministry explained yesterday that first and second-grade high school students would return to the old Client Server system, which is helplessly vulnerable to hackers. This is why the Ministry`s emphasizing human rights violations sounds hardly convincing.

While it is estimated that the new plan will cost some 2.2 trillion won, apart from some 50 billion won wasted on NEIS, the Ministry has yet to specify how to raise the additional funds. With CS, schools will most likely face disruptions in administrations, and the victims will be students. Teachers who had worked until last night to get prepared for the new database system will feel betrayed and frustrated. Education policies will not be seen as reliable any more, not to mention many other adverse effects.

We cannot understand why the government deals only with KTU to make a series of concessions, instead of listening to other reasonable voices in the education community. Is this because other organizations are more moderate and less hostile than KTU or because KTU is more of the same code as the government and progressive?

The information system committee, set to discuss NEIS-related issues, will consist of the same number of people representing the Ministry of Education and the progressive teachers group respectively. KTU is not an organization representing the education community, yet the composition of the committee members says differently. The rest of the education community is considering a `disobedience campaign`. A democratic system is not about `fighting` or `struggling` to make one’s case. It is about something else.