[EDITORIALS]First, put students firstThe Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union is demanding that the government withdraw its policy to implement the National Education Information System. The union will start a hunger strike this week and vote on a plan to take annual leave collectively. Countering the union, a nationwide association of school principals will hold a rally this weekend to urge the union to reconsider its decision. Amid the growing conflict between the teachers union and the principals, the government is not doing its job as mediator. The government seems to be negligent in preventing a clash in the education community.
The union argues that the information system would make public the personal information of students, violating their rights. The argument is unconvincing, and experts have said that the sensitive information would not be on the database. The union is protesting the introduction of the system because it does not want to lose the fight over leadership in the education community. When teachers go out on the street to rally instead of teaching students, students will become the victims. The union should give up its proclivity for tackling all issues with work stoppages; it is time for the union to seriously contemplate what to teach and how.
The action by the principals is meant to ring an alarm against the union. But such action would exacerbate the people’s uneasiness. At this point, the principals should embrace the students with love and create an atmosphere where teachers can concentrate on education. To this end, democratic action, not an authoritative attitude, is needed.
The government should step forward to resolve this education crisis. The Education Ministry questioned the fairness of the anti-war education supported by the union, but decided to do nothing. Some criticized the decision, warning that the government is approaching the teachers union with a pro-union policy, despite the special nature of education. This is not the time for the education minister to deal with principals, teachers and parents passively. Don’t we face a dark future if education is shaken?