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Teachers Likely to Quit Due to Pension Slash

Posted June. 23, 2008 05:56,   


Fearing the new changes to the Government Workers’ Pension Act, armies of teachers have signed up for retirement as of August. In Seoul alone, more than 1,400 teachers will leave school, the largest number since 2000.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, a total of 781 primary and secondary education teachers applied for honorary retirement from June 17 to 19. The figure consists of 398 elementary school teachers, 179 middle school teachers and 204 high school teachers.

A senior official confirmed, “We plan to retire at least 700 of them. We first have to look at our budgetary ability.” Combining the number with previous 737 applicants who signed up for honorary retirement in February, the total number is likely to go over 1,400. Back in 2000 when the government lowered the retirement age, some 2,693 teachers quit their job.

The number of retirees in Seoul has climbed continuously, except in 2005: 192 in 2004, 60 in 2005, 437 in 2006, and 1,165 in 2007. In particular, the number soared in 2006 and 2007 after a debate over the pension law revision heated up.

The retirement spark was triggered by the initiatives the Lee Myung-bak administration is pushing for. The Lee administration is trying to amend the pension law and implement a teacher evaluation system.

Rumors have it that, once amended, teachers might not get the retirement allowance of 76 million won (or approximately $76,000) at all or just receive half of it.

A senior official of the Korea Federation of Teaches’ Association said, “According to the draft published last January, a teacher with a career of more than 20 years may lose more than 23 million won in pension payment. But the loss may increase when the retirement allowance is slashed.”

But the Ministry of Public Administration and Security sent a letter in May to schools, and explained in it, “Nothing is concrete regarding the future of the pension law. But what is clear is that reasonableness will dominate the whole process. Thus, it’s not reasonable to quit the job just because of the pension amendment.”