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Union Rationalizes Pro-North Lectures

Posted July. 28, 2006 03:45,   


The Busan branch of the Korean Teachers and Educational Worker’s Union (KTEWU) explained about using lecture material copied from North Korea’s “Modern Chosun History” to hold their “Unification School”, but it was revealed that the “Project Evaluation Sheet” created by them differed significantly from their explanations.

When the lecturing material became a problem, the Busan branch of KTEWU released a statement on July 26 explaining, “The Unification School was a seminar that teachers who had visited North Korea held in order to know more about North Korea.” However, the “2005 Project Evaluation Sheet” contained on the “2006 Winter Busan Branch Workshop” material stated that the purpose of the school was to “educate and train Unification Committee workers.”

Is it a Simple Seminar or Part of an Organized Activity?—

At the July 26 statement, the Busan branch of KTEWU declared, “The Unification School was a seminar held by teachers who visited North Korea and wanted to know more about North Korea after experiencing North Korea’s aspects that are difficult to understand with a South Korean mindset.” It emphasized that the teachers who participated in the Unification School were those interested in the issue of unification and North Korea, and that they were not related in any way to teaching students.

However, the “2005 Project Evaluation Sheet” included in the material compiled from the “2006 Winter Busan Branch Workshop,” which was held on January 24 and 25 of this year at Busan Youth Center, had a completely different view regarding the Unification School.

The Busan branch considered the Unification School as a core project to discover and educate workers for the Unification Committee, as well as to participate in the August 15 Grand National Festival, and expand the June 15 Activity Group Project. Created in 2004 in order to raise student awareness of unification, the Unification Committee is an affiliated group of KTEWU Busan Branch.

The project evaluation also emphasized, “Mostly teachers with experience of working as unification spearheads participated in the Unification School. It focused on creating a framework so they could organize and come together.” In other words, the document indirectly reveals that it wasn’t a simple seminar, but rather part of an organized activity.

For 15 days, from August 1 until 15, of 2005, KTEWU’s Unification Spearhead (Teachers Spearheading Self-reliant Unification) toured across the country with Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)’s Worker’s Unification Spearhead propagating opposition to the relocation of USFK bases to Pyeongtaek and demanding the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Korea.

Necessary to Make Unification School Popular—

In a phone interview with Dong-A Ilbo on July 25, KTEWU’s Busan Branch Unification Committee Chairperson Yang Hye-jeong said that we have no plans to host a Unification School this year. However, her mention is also different from the project evaluation.

The evaluation sheet assessed and suggested, “Inviting famous lecturers to lecture more mass-appealing classes would bring in more participants and would have been easier. Considering the situation this year, we had better to hold diverse forms of Unification School such as mass-appealing workshops or activist workshops, and we also need to ponder about a form of a more mass-appealing Unification School.”

Regarding this, Busan branch Policy Office Director Kang Byeong-yong stated, “Although it is true that teachers who participated in Unification Spearhead also participated in Unification School, not all teachers participated in both. In reality, the Unification School did not teach. Rather, discussions were held. In addition, we do not mean to hold mass-appealing lectures using the same lecture material.”