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Anti-KTU Organization Set to Kick Off

Posted June. 11, 2003 21:54,   


The Civic Alliance of Education Community, an organization led by Lee Sang-joo, former minister of education and deputy prime minister who has categorically criticized the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), and who is joined by former government officials and opinion leaders will kick off on June 14.

The alliance held a launching ceremony at the auditorium of Dongsung High School in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul at 3:00 p.m. on June 11 and vowed that it would work hard to create a healthy education environment.

At the ceremony attended by some 1,000 guests, the organization issued a declaration. “The foundation for our education community is on the verge of collapse. Morale among education workers is bottoming out and incongruent government policies are fueling confusion and conflicts within the community,” it stated.

“Instead of offering unbiased knowledge and information, schools now serve as a propaganda platform for an ideologically-biased teachers` group, confusing young students,” it went on to say. “We will take due actions against any attempt to undermine the healthy growth of young students, and work hard to build a democratic and harmonious education environment.”

Although it came short of referring directly to the KTU, the declaration was seen as targeting the progressive teachers’ organization.

The alliance will be joined by some 20 groups such as the Civic Campaign for True Education, the Association of Regional Society and Education Development, the Housewives` Club and the Campaign for Traditional Values.

Former minister of education Lee will chair the organization, which will be jointly represented by Prof. Suh Ji-moon of Korea University, Prof. Kim Jin-sung of Myungji Univ., Prof. Bae Gyu-hwan of Kookmin Univ., Lee Sang-jin, chairman of the board of directors at the National and Private School Principals Association and Goh Hak-young, former editorial writer of the Chosun Ilbo.

Former prime ministers Gang Young-hoon, Hyun Seung-jong, Lee Young-deok and Jung Won-shik, former ministers of education Yun Hyung-sup, Cho Wan-gyu, Park Young-shik and Lee Don-hee, Chairman of the Korea Federation of Teachers Association Lee Gun-hyun, former Seoul City Education Superintendent Lee Jun-hae, former minister of home affairs Ahn Eung-mo and Prof. Song Bok of Yonsei Univ. will serve as advisors to the organization.

The alliance plans to engage in such activities as school monitoring and operation of an Internet reporting center to keep a close eye on infringements upon education rights, while forming a legal advisory panel to offer free legal counseling services for education workers.

Seeing parents` participation as vital to create a sound education environment, it also plans to form a parent’s organization joined by some 50,000 parents nationwide. It will soon launch promotional activities targeting parents.

“We are not merely after the KTU, but the growing conflicts sparked by the death of a school principal at Bosung Primary School in Yesan, South Chungcheong Province has indeed served as a catalyst for our decision to establish the new organization,” said former minister of education Lee. “We are determined to redouble our efforts to root out unreasonable and destructive behavior in the education community.”

In-Chul Lee inchul@donga.com