[EDITORIALS]A step to education peaceThe national council of primary, middle and high school principals has canceled a rally planned for today. Instead they will hold a symposium to discuss problems within the nation’s educational system.
After the suicide of the principal of Boseong Primary School, the rally was planned for principals to demand a period of introspection by members of the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union. But the proposed gathering stoked worries that it would exacerbate the confrontation between principals and teachers because the teachers union was planing a strike. The teachers’ action was aimed at stopping a National Educational Information System, a database for the nation’s education administration.
Principals were criticized for using the same collective action they had excoriated the union for adopting to push through its demands. The decision to cancel the outdoor rally recognizes the people’s wish for returning soundness to education.
Educators should now abandon ugly fights over their interests and ideological leadership. The principals should discard the authoritarian attitudes criticized by the union and operate schools in a more democratic way. They must also look at why they were seen as selfish, connected with irregularities related to education material selection, construction work, school lunch and illegal contributions. As the leaders of schools, they must settle problems through dialogue with teachers. When schools are engaged in struggles, students cannot pursue their studies and parents are agitated.
The teachers union also must abandon its struggle. The principals asked for stronger rights and participation in collective bargaining for educators’ rights. It is not right that the union criticized the demand simply as “anti-reform.” In a democracy, each side presents its position and makes compromises on differing opinions. Why has the union not even tried to listen to the other side’s position? The decision by the principals is lauded as a decision of educators. We hope this will lead our schools back to peace.
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