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Union Boss Says Criticism Justified

Posted December. 16, 2006 08:03,   


“I sincerely sympathize with the public’s criticism over the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU)” said the new union leader, Jeong Jin-hwa. Jeong was elected 13th president of the KTU and held a press conference in the conference room of the union in Seoul and said, “The KTU has failed to suggest and implement constructive alternatives to the government education policy while focusing on strikes against government policy. The union will reflect on what it needs to be a better organization and will launch education reform campaigns for the better future of the country’s education.”

The head of the union said, “Bringing changes into classrooms is more important than strikes teachers wage while taking leaves to oppose government education policy. The KTU will make its best efforts to regain public support by doing what students and parents want. That will be providing children from low-income families with extra educational help and helping teenagers participate in more voluntary work so that they can have fulfilling experiences.”

She also indicated that the teachers union’s policy will dramatically change by saying, “To suggest education policy that the public could agree, the KTU accepts criticism raised both inside and outside the union without hesitance and will reform some of the wrong practices it has continued and the way the union has acted.”

When making comments about the teacher evaluation system, the union leader said, “The KTU strongly opposes the evaluation plan promoted by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, and it will deal with the matter in a public discussion while trying to gain support from students and parents through education campaigns.

Jeong also said, “The Ministry of Education made matters worse by introducing stopgap measures. But the ministry is not the only one to blame. The teachers union also has been only objected to every single measure the ministry proposed. So, now the union proposes to establish a discussion group that includes the government, education workers’ unions, and civic groups. With such a group, unintended consequences brought by the government’s unilateral decision-making when it comes to education policy could be minimized.”

In a response to the comment that some say she is moderate, Jeong said, “I will strongly voice the KTU’s opinions when the union needs to deal with education issues such as ensuring education budgets and efforts to reduce the education gap between students. But I will discuss the matters with the government and suggest alternatives rather than only insisting on the union’ opinions and raising issues.” Jeong will be sworn in on January 2, 2007.