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Teachers Receive Lecture on Economy

Posted January. 24, 2007 06:20,   


“I used to be supportive of labor union strikes. However, after seeing the strike staged by the Hyundai Motors’ labor union, I had second thoughts. Today’s lecture was an important one, and I will discuss the topic with my students.”

A teacher gushed after listening to a lecture at a conference room in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, on Tuesday.

More than 160 middle and high school teachers nationwide attended the lecture. The five largest business associations, including the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Korean Industries, organized the event to teach educators about the Korean economy.

The teachers were very receptive, and many expressed their desire to learn more about it.

“Too Much Groundless Apathy toward Corporations”-

Teachers had trouble concealing their frustration over the fact that their students hold groundless apathy toward corporations and the KOR-U.S. FTA.

Kim Hong-rae, 52, a sociology teacher at Cheonan Girls’ High School, said, “Students are influenced by the negative press topics such as the anti-FTA campaigns. Consequently, they hold a negative attitude toward it without much reasoning. The curriculum and politics put far greater emphasis on equality rather than efficiency.”

Another sociology teacher at Gwangju Computer Science High School, Kim Ji-sun, 27, said, “I was startled by the fact that even after an extensive effort to abolish regulations, there are still 400 regulations restricting the construction of golf courses. Corporations dwell on quick decision-making to succeed. The government is far too slow to keep up with the changes in our corporations.”

“The workplace must not become the labor unions’ playground”

Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who delivered the opening lecture, said, “Every country is moving toward increased labor flexibility. Meanwhile, Korea is going in the opposite direction. We must overhaul our labor-management practices. An inflexible labor market and violent strikes should be left behind.”

Sohn continued, “The workplace cannot become the labor unions’ playground. The government should strictly apply labor laws against unreasonable labor movements for the people’s sake.”

Gong Byeong-ho of the Gong Institute said, “Korea should not move toward equality, but instead should focus on efficiency. In countries that cherish efficiency, the people are more self-dependent and wealthy.”

changkim@donga.com sanhkim@donga.com