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Teachers Call for Resignation of Minister Yoon

Posted May. 28, 2003 21:27,   


▽Minister Yoon Talks about Cooling-off period

Minister of Education Yoon Deok-hong had an interview with MBC radio program `Son Seok-hee`s Focus` in the morning on the day. When asked whether the ministry has bowed to demands by KTU, the embattled minister said he intended to respect the advice from the National Human Rights Commission and delay adoption of NEIS given the controversy. Therefore, the decision is not be seen as giving in to KTU`s demands.

˝I was seeking to take some six months of cooling-off period to evaluate the problems with experts,˝ Yoon explained.

˝We decided to put on hold the NEIS for six months. It is different from saying that we are returning to the old Client Server system,˝ Yoon went onto say. ˝We aim at establishing democratic institutional arrangements for NEIS operations.˝

When asked whether he meant implementing the NEIS eventually by `putting on hold,` Yoon replied, ˝I personally believes that it (NEIS) better fits the current trend. If there are some problems, we need to fix them. In doing so, we need to coordinate opinions through discussions to prevent conflicts in the education community.˝

Attending at a meeting with the ruling Millennium Democratic Party later on the day, Yoon also said that the ministry decided to have a six-month cooling-off period and its intention was misinterpreted. ˝We plan to reevaluate the issue at a special NEIS committee soon to be set up and reach a conclusion by the end of this year.˝

▽KTU Determined to Return to CS

˝We stick to our demand that three privacy problem areas of academic, health and admission affairs should return to the CS as agreed with the education ministry,˝ said Kim Hak-han, policymaking director at KTU. ˝We believe the ministry will implement the plan as agreed.˝

˝Given the human rights commission already ruled that sending students` data to the new database system is infringement of human right, it is impossible to push for NEIS,˝ said Song Won-jae, spokesman of the teachers` union. ˝Our goal is to returning to the CS system after beefing up security of the system with the special committee.˝

As it is apparent that differences still exist between the ministry and the progressive teachers` group, the NEIS vs. CS debate is expected to continue dominating discussions at the new committee.

▽KFTA Calls for Yoon`s Resignation

High-ranking officials at the Korea Federation of Teachers Association led by Chairman Lee Gun-hyun visited the ruling MDP and the opposition Grand National Party in the morning and said, ˝The National Assembly must come forward to deal with the issue since the government has lost balance in policymaking decisions.˝

They also demanded that the parties submit a resolution to the National Assembly, calling for Yoon`s resignation.

˝The education ministry`s decision to, in fact, discontinue the NEIS did not conclude the dispute, but rather amplified the problem,˝ the Citizens` Coalition for Economic Justice said in an official statement. ˝Since the information system is a national issue, not the one limited to the education area, the ministry must think again whether it is right for the ministry to make a decision only through negotiations with the teachers` union.˝

NEIS links the education ministry, local education bodies and primary, middle and high schools nationwide via an Internet administration network to process data centrally. It is believed to be efficient in academic recording and statistics management and have a high level of information security.

CS, in comparison, is a close-type administration network based on an individual school unit and more vulnerable to security breaches. It also requires each school to have a system manager.

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com