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[Editorial] A Pro-North Teachers Union

Posted August. 02, 2006 03:01,   


It has been revealed that the Seoul branch of the Korean Teachers and Educational Worker`s Union (KTU) has been promoting posters through its website that propagandize the military-first politics of North Korea, called "Songun" politics, on the bulletin board of classrooms.

“They are just references symbolizing the political and military system of North Korea. None of those posters praises North Korea and we have no intention of doing so,” an official of the KTU said.

However, no parent who sees the poster with the phrase, “Long live the great victory of Songun politics,” would be naive enough to fall for that.

None of the 25 pictures that the teachers’ union introduced mentions the human rights abuses of North Korea. Moreover, none of the pictures showing the military demarcation line informs that North Korea initiated the Korean War.

This is obvious that the Seoul branch has been instilling one-sided views on North Korea into students, along with the Busan branch, which has also created a stir by educating teachers on unification issues with educational materials copied from a North Korean history book of Juche ideology, the North Korean self-reliance ideology.

I wonder if the teachers’ union has ever tried to inform students the fact that young males of North Korea are 15 centimeters shorter than those of South Korea due to malnutrition.

Recently, a large number of candidates nominated by the teachers’ union were defeated in a national education committee election. The KTU, however, was busy blaming media, claiming their defeat was due to conservative media rather than trying to find out fundamental reasons of losing their support in the education circles.

Everyone in the nation knows that the KTU has been waging political and ideological wars with its unionized teachers, which consist of less than 20 percent of the total number of teachers, by taking students hostage. Forcing the future generation, who will live in the 21st Century’s knowledge-based society, to learn an anachronistic ideology will result in shaking the foundations of the next century’s education system.

How could teachers who get paid from the taxes collected by the people oppose after-school classes and the curriculum differentiation on the basis of students’ academic levels, which certainly will provide underperforming students a chance to catch up? The teachers, who cannot accept the increase in the number of self-reliant private schools, the establishment of international middle schools and the teacher evaluation system, which demands teachers maintain their teaching skills, should no longer teach students.

The seriousness of the problem is well illustrated at the comment of Kim Jin-kyung, former presidential secretary for education and culture and the first policy planner of the KTU.

“The KTU is an obstacle that only deters the development of education,” Kim said.

The government should no longer be swayed by the teachers’ union. The education circles and parents should no longer sit back and let the KTU trample on education.

In order to stop the teachers’ union from shaking the education policies and to ensure rights to study for education consumers, education committee members should be elected directly by local residents.