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[Editorial] Top Educator Should Work for Nation’s Future, Not Union

[Editorial] Top Educator Should Work for Nation’s Future, Not Union

Posted July. 28, 2008 03:31,   


Although the election of Seoul’s top educator is only two days away, it seems like parents and voters are not familiar with each candidate’s ideological stance, educational vision and policies, reflecting a general lack of interest in an event which will greatly affect the future of our education and the nation.

First and foremost, the nation’s education policies should be in line with the constitutional spirit, national identity and global trend of raising competitiveness in education. In this regard, the incoming superintendent of educational affairs must be someone who can build an educational environment that will enable Korea to join the ranks of advanced nations, with respect for free democracy and rule of law. The current education polices will determine the future of Korea just as the old saying goes, “Education must look ahead into the next 100 years.”

Therefore, citizens must cast their votes on Wednesday with a conviction that they will determine the future of our education and our nation with their own hands.

The new top educator must be politically neutral just as mandated by Clause 4, Article 31 of the Constitution. This means the superintendent position cannot be taken by a candidate who campaigns in illegal candlelight vigils, insists on resignation of the democratically-elected president and distorts history by saying that the Korean War was not an invasion by the North, but a “Unification War” which may seem like currying favor with North Korea.

Many voters are concerned that a candidate supported by the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union, if elected, may bring about a series of reforms that cater only to the needs of the union. Nothing can be more unfortunate for our education than letting the top educator take the lead in making our schools a playground for a union with slanted ideological views.

Criticizing specialized and independent high schools as “schools for the bourgeois” comes from a distorted view on the right to equal education, which is defined as “the right to receive equal education according to one’s ability” in the Constitution. In other words, charging expensive school fees or offering customized courses for students do not directly translate into unequal education. Furthermore, providing early-morning classes and dividing underperforming and outperforming students into different classes to raise competitiveness of students as a whole should not be pointed as “harmful.” A truly equal education would enable excelling students to do even better and underperforming students to improve.

In conclusion, the upcoming election should not be reduced to an election representing only the interest of a certain group. It should be an election for the future of our education. This is why voters must give a great deal of thought on who is the right person for the future of our nation and our children before they turn up at polling stations.