[EDITORIALS]Protecting corrupt teachers

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[EDITORIALS]Protecting corrupt teachers

Sixteen education offices of city and provincial governments gave advance notice of enforcement regulations related to disciplining teachers who commit serious offenses at schools. But the enforcment regulations have been softened a great deal compared to the original plan of the Education Ministry. Parents and civic groups are critical of the new measures.
The Education Ministry talked tough earlier about firing teachers involved in school records tampering, bribery, sexual offenses and physical violence. But, in the preview of the new rules yesterday, only the teachers, who committed offenses serious enough for dismissal or discharge are to be considered by the Education Service Deliberation Committee. It is education superintendents who decide whether a teacher will have to face the committee.
It appears that the new rules, which stipulates the committee’s deliberation of charges only on teachers to be discharged, were drawn up in an attempt to condone their corruption. Depending on the education superintendents’ decision, there appears to be a chance to overlook a particular teacher in trouble. This is why the committee appears to be nothing but a way of coming to the rescue of teachers.
The ministry is responsible for this. Education offices say that they drafted the enforcement regulations based on the ministry’s advice. The ministry says the purpose is “to protect teachers’ authority.” Of course, teachers’ authority must be respected, but that does not mean we must respect corrupt teachers. It looks suspiciously like rules favoring teachers are being made under pressure from the teachers union.
The so-called “cronyism” among education circles has reached a serious level. The education authorities have given up their job of establishing fundamental teaching principles, crumbling under the pressure of the Korean Teachers’ and Educational Workers’ Union. The more corrupt a teacher is, the more he cries out for teachers’ authority.
There was even a high school teacher who received only a suspension from duty after being detained for having a sexual relationship with a student. Without punishment, decent teachers would be considered “birds of a feather” even if they have impeccable records. The education authorities shouldn’t commit the mistake of leading the entire education community into the mud while trying to cover up for a small number of problem teachers. The enforcement regulations must be changed and made stricter.
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