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Left-Leaning Figures Named to Seoul Education Committee

Posted July. 23, 2010 11:21,   


The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education appointed Thursday a host of left-leaning outsiders to its personnel committee following a similar move for its disciplinary committee.

According to the list of personnel committee members released by the office, seven of the nine members were outsiders and six of them are known to be progressive. Also appointed were three progressive figures to the office’s personnel committee for provincial civil servants.

Before the list was made public, Seoul education superintendent Kwak Noh-hyun told reporters Wednesday, “You’ll be surprised at the list (of personnel committee members),” hinting at mostly outsiders being appointed.

The personnel committee deliberates and decides on personnel matters for 48,000 public education workers in Seoul and 6,700 others at provincial education offices.

Prior to this, the Seoul office reshuffled its disciplinary committee by appointing left-leaning figures to all four spots. Fears are rising that the progressive majority in both the disciplinary and personnel committees will upset balance.

In a statement, the Korea Federation of Teacher`s Associations said, "Superintendent Kwak broke his promise to be a superintendent for all," adding, “This will lead to the perception that political inclination takes precedence over fairness in personnel management.”

Certain officials inside the Seoul office said Kwak has emphasized rationalism but was not rational this time.

One official said, “Outsiders have little understanding of each department’s work and environment and are unable to evaluate workers’ abilities,” adding, “Transparent personnel management requires only a small number of external figures for a watchdog role.”

Another official said, “Some fear that public officials who pursued policies that progressive forces didn’t like will be at a disadvantage.”

Critics say this is part of Kwak’s plan to have his own way in the upcoming large-scale personnel shake-up, adding no discord will arise if personnel committee members are on his side.

Another official said, “Personnel management will inevitably be controlled by the superintendent and the personnel committee is a body needed for procedures,” adding, “This is a repeat of the practice of the personnel committee acting as a rubber stamp.”