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Gov`t to Punish Teachers Who Signed Anti-Gov`t Declaration

Gov`t to Punish Teachers Who Signed Anti-Gov`t Declaration

Posted June. 27, 2009 08:23,   


The government yesterday said it will punish 17,189 teachers belonging to the progressive Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union for issuing a declaration critical of the incumbent administration.

Eighty-eight of the teachers who took the initiative in issuing the declaration or proactively participated will face suspension or dismissal and possibly legal action. The punishment is the most severe for the union since it was legalized in 1999.

A head-on collision is expected since the union is planning to issue a second declaration criticizing what it calls the government’s hard-line stance.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry made the decision to punish the teachers yesterday in an emergency meeting of deputy superintendents in central Seoul. The ministry concluded that 10 of 33 commissioners on the executive committee, including the union’s head Jeong Jin-hu, took the initiative in issuing the declaration.

The ministry asked municipal and provincial educational authorities to dismiss the 10 commissioners and suspend 78 other union members. Other teachers who signed the declaration will get warnings.

The government will ask prosecutors to indict the 88 union members subject to heavy punishment, including 25 members of the union’s headquarters and 16 regional heads.

Another 63 union members including the 16 regional heads will face punishment from the ministry and regional educational authorities.

The ministry said the teachers who signed the declaration violated Clause 66 of the Government Officials Act as well as the 56th and 57th clauses.

In a news conference in central Seoul, the union said, “In response to the government’s attempt to stifle freedom of expression, we’ll issue a second declaration and organize a signature campaign to be joined by 400,000 teachers.”

It also said it will ask prosecutors to indict Education Minister Ahn Byong-man and municipal and provincial superintendents of 16 regions for abuse of authority.

The union will hold an emergency meeting of its executive committee tomorrow on formulating countermeasures.