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[Op-Ed] True Education?

Posted October. 05, 2009 08:20,   


The Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union was founded on May 28, 1989. Four months later, the National Association of Parents for True Education was launched. The two organizations were not only established in the same year but were also oriented toward “true” and “equal” education. The keywords used in referring to “true” education – nation, democracy and humanization – sound plausible. Many, however, get the impression that such innocent words were exploited to distort the reality and ideology of domestic education.

Different people might have different opinions on what constitutes “true” education. Whatever it means, it cannot refer to teaching students to unconditionally oppose and reject the government’s educational policy. Nor can it mean fostering people who seek to undermine the basic order of liberal democracy, the highest value championed by the Constitution. The parents’ association deserves to be called a “puppet” of the teachers’ union in that it backs the union’s anti-government stance and pro-North Korea and left-wing inclinations.

The association has offices across the country and some 5,000 members. It has waged worthy campaigns against bribery, illegal support funds raised by schools, and school violence. Yet it has opposed competition in the educational sector, ignoring the right to an equal education based on ability as stipulated in the Constitution.

The association will join other civic groups in launching a public campaign to reject national scholastic achievement tests set for Oct. 13-14 for all public school students. It plans to take students on a field trip on the days of the tests. The association has come forward in the campaign after the government last year warned of severe disciplinary action against teachers who rejected the tests. So is allowing students to be used by the teachers’ union the association’s idea of “true” education?

Editorial Writer Yuk Jeong-soo (sooya@donga.com)