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Public Servants in Education Ministry Bark at NEIS Decision

Public Servants in Education Ministry Bark at NEIS Decision

Posted May. 27, 2003 21:43,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development is now under fire for its decision to reevaluate introduction of the teachers and students database system, or NEIS. The education community is calling for resignation of Minister of Education Yoon Deok-hong, and the Workers Council at the ministry is also barking at the decision.

“Minister Yoon yielded to the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union and unilaterally decided to withdraw NEIS, causing disruptions and turmoil in the education community,” said the council at a press interview on May 27. “The ministry should implemented NEIS at once after addressing some problems.”

It is a rare move for civil servants to object to the decision made by their head in public.

“We raise concern over this kind of self-serving policymaking practice prevailing in the so-called ‘participatory government’,” the council pointed out. “We cannot agree with the unilateral decision, which gives in to demands of some interest groups without consultation and coordination of opinions.”

“It is unthinkable for the education ministry caves in a threat of collective action, instead of taking a long-term approach for young students,” it went onto say. “We will take necessary actions if the ministry refuses to reflect our demands or continue to reverse policies for political reasons.”

Top-level officials of the Korea Union of Teaching and Education Workers (KUTE) visited Minister Yoon in the afternoon of May 27 in protest and asked the minister to step down immediately, saying “He should take responsibilities for the close-door deal struck between the ministry and the teachers` group.”

KUTE said that it would launch a signature-seeking campaign nationwide on May 28 calling for resignation of Yoon; refuse to use the old Client Server system; hold a massive rally on June 7; and take a collective action in link with other education organizations.

The Chairpersons Council of Local Education Commissions also denounced the ministry, saying “The reversal of the plan to adopt NEIS is a wrong decision that undermines reliability and consistency.” Meantime, two parents` organizations, `Parents Who Cares` and ‘the Coalition of Parents’, also issued a statement calling for resignation of Minister Yoon and implementation of NEIS.

In-Chul Lee Seong-Chul Hong inchul@donga.com sungchul@donga.com