[EDITORIALS]Propaganda for studentsThe Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union has announced that it will designate this week as a special week to cherish the memory of Kim Sun-il, murdered in Iraq, and promote anti-war and peace in classes taught by its members.
There is nothing wrong with teaching students what happened to Kim Sun-il and to pay respect to him. Nevertheless, viewing some of the material that has been posted on the union’s Web site, one can see how emphasis is put on urging the government to reverse its decision to dispatch more troops to Iraq and pull out the ones now there. If the classes are going to be taught in such a context, students might get a one-sided impression that the dispatch of the troops is not right. In particular, if the students see the material prepared by the union that deals with the question of how Iraqis view our troop dispatch, the one-sided view is even more likely to emerge. In this material, quotes from a professor teaching at a college in Palestine are used to say that the decision to send troops to Iraq has only caused pain to Koreans, while more pain is to come. It’s a one-sided argument. A statement by National Assemblymen urging the government to reverse its decision is also included in the material, but not an explanation of why the administration came to a decision to send the troops. With such material to be used, it’s easy to imagine how such classes will be taught.
The fact that the union is participating in a campaign led by social and religious groups who oppose the troop dispatch to Iraq can be viewed as part of the union’s legitimate activities. But staging political acitivity in classrooms is certainly not right. At this point, what the union should do is teach students about the cruelty of terrorism and the need to send troops. Sending our troops is in line with keeping a promise that we made internationally and ending terrorism. This should be the nucleus of what is taught to the students.
The death of Kim Sun-il as reported in the media had a great impact on students, and the classes by the union have to be planned very carefully. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development must check on the material to be used in the classes and make a decision on whether it should be used, and then monitor the classes carefully.