[EDITORIALS]More weak leadershipThe government said it would abandon three of the 27 data sets in the new National Education Information System and continue to use the existing school information management system for them. The government again bowed to pressure from the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union. The decision shows the weakness of a government that keeps getting pushed around. That was also the case with the strike by Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, railroad workers and independent truckers.
This is a step backward for the government’s plan to upgrade the educational information system on which it has spent 50 billion won ($41.7 million). The superintendents of schools in 16 jurisdictions around the country, the other major teachers’ union, the Korean Federation of Teachers Associations and information technology officials at schools are opposed to the pullback, resulting in confusion in the country’s education system. The disappointment of the backers of the new system is understandable.
The bulk of the responsibility rests with Yoon Deok-hyong, the education minister. Mr. Yoon has reneged on his own words several times, starting with the statement that he would scrap the new system when he took office, only to change his mind shortly thereafter. He said he respected the recommendations by the Human Rights Commission even before they came out.
It is amazing that he is siding with the Korea Teachers’ and Educational Workers’ Union. The Korean Federation of Teachers Associations has called for his resignation to take responsibility for the wasted money, the confusion and the increased workload for teachers.
It was not long ago that President Roh Moo-hyun vowed to get tough with the Korea Teachers’ and Educational Workers’ Union. Now he is accepting their demands. He has talked about getting tough with interest groups that try to get their way through job actions. It is hard to understand what he really wants. Is his administration going to accept the demands of every interest group? Our education system must not be at their mercy.