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New Opposition Teachers’ Union Forming

Posted January. 10, 2006 08:36,   


The Free Teachers’ Union (FTU), a new teachers’ union that opposes the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU) and the newly revised Private School Bill, and that is in favor of teacher evaluations, will be launched in March.

As tensions between the government and private school organizations are heightening because of the revised Private School Bill, the advent of a new teachers’ union that argues to discuss the revised bill and the “Three No Policy” is gaining the attention in the education field. (Three No Policy is the Ministry of Education’s policy not to allow individual college entrance exams, ranking high schools, and admission to universities by financial contribution).

Background for its Launch—

The Preparation Committee for FTU made clear its anti-KTU stance at a press conference held on January 9. The committee announced in its declaration, “The recent anti-APEC video and classes and personal attacks on principals that are experimentally running teacher evaluations have made us wonder whether the KTU is a teachers’ organization or a violence-waging organization. In order to save our educational system in crisis and to improve it, we are preparing to establish the FTU.”

The KTU was established in 1989 with the slogan of “True Education” and has pursued eliminating teacher bribery and played a positive role in the educational field. However, the extreme leftist tendency of some members that called for anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism have brought the union criticism from parents and society.

The FTU’s slogan is “Educating Like a Parent” and it offered its vision to provide education faithful to free democracy, market economy, and constitutional values.

Operation and Future Plans—

The FTU made its position clear by declaring its opposition to the revised Private School Bill and favoring teacher evaluation and nationwide basic scholastic evaluation.

Its management also differs from KTU. Unlike centralized KTU, FTU will be run as a decentralized organization. It plans to mainly center around regional organizations at the metropolitan and provincial level, and the central headquarters will be operated with the minimum required personnel.

The FTU preparation committee plans to open a website in mid January as well as launch the “FTU Supporting Civic Group.” Afterwards it will go on a national tour explaining about its intentions until February and will officially register as a labor union in March.

The FTU preparation committee’s Co-representative Kim Jung-soo, teaching at Gumi Girls’ High School in North Gyeongsang Province, said, “Currently, 150 teachers across the country have signed up to the committee. After officially launching in March, we plan to increase our membership to 30,000 within this year.”

Soo-Jung Shin crystal@donga.com