[EDITORIALS]Teachers failing us allPresident Roh Moo-hyun has ordered a strong response to the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union’s plan for all teachers to take their yearly holidays during the same time slot. The president’s action is justified being that the union, without an attempt to resolve issues through dialogue, is calling for the repeal of a nationally institutionalized structure.
Teachers who are members of the union should stay at their posts and cooperate on the government plan to implement the controversial National Education Information System. This will lessen the damage inflicted on students.
The union’s plan for job action using their holidays is irrational; it subverts their profession and thus should be halted. The move is illegal and holds hostage students’ right to learn. The union is a workers’ union; therefore, it has the right to collective negotiations. But teachers as a group have a special mission: They instruct the young. In that sense, the right to collective action cannot be tolerated. Not an iota of difference exists between the effect of a corporate labor union’s walkout en masse and teachers taking their holidays simultaneously to protest the new educational database.
The union would commit a grave error of judgement if its members believe refusing to teach will lead them to their goal. The public is highly critical of how the government handled the recent strikes by railroad workers and independent truckers. Against such a background, would the public rally behind the union’s illegal move?
One good thing about the union’s activity is that it has prompted the National Human Rights Commission to state concern that the new education information system might violate human rights. Students are taught that the essence of democracy is to draw a consensus from various opinions. We are certain that not one teacher belonging to the union would want the nation’s elementary, middle and high school students to miss one class. Nor would they want the first phase of the rolling college admissions, which is scheduled to start on June 3, to go awry.