Stop bribing teachers
A teacher’s job involves more than just delivering knowledge. In the classroom, an educator’s words, actions and disposition have a significant influence on the formation of a student’s personality. But if teachers want to condone bribery, we cannot hope to educate our children in an appropriate atmosphere.
In keeping with efforts to prevent parents from giving teachers gifts of money, which some say is a form of bribery, schools will close on Teachers’ Day on May 15 and parents will be sent letters asking them to refrain from visiting schools for all of next month. It’s hardly the kind of situation we want our young people to study in.
Our belief is that the age-old practice of parents giving money to teachers must end. However, it is wrong to assume all teachers are potential criminals who take bribes. Investigators from the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission recently barged into a classroom at a school in Bundang, Gyeonggi. Their mission was to investigate the contents of a cookie box that parents had brought in to check whether there was money inside. There wasn’t any.
In another incident, investigators stopped a teacher driving from school and ransacked the trunk in vain. This kind of heavy-handed action infringes on teachers’ rights and must cease.
That said, the education field must make efforts to end corruption. Schools must make it perfectly clear that their teachers will not take money from parents.
Dongsan Elementary School in Seoul has run a campaign for the past 11 years not to take bribes from parents. Other teachers around the country should also let parents know that they have pledged not to take money.
Some parents unofficially sponsor school events or teachers’ lunch or dinner meetings. Schools must end this practice as well because this is another type of bribery.
We need laws and regulations to help stamp out this practice. But what’s most important is that teachers have to be resolved to fight the temptation of extra money from parents.
Last year, the government revised the educational public workers act and the private school act so that a teacher fired for taking money from parents cannot teach again. But if teachers don’t make the initial pledge to refuse bribes, these laws are useless.
If teachers remember their dream to devote themselves to education, they shouldn’t have any problem turning down cash gifts.
Parents must also play their part. In a survey, 54.7 percent of parents said selfishness is the major reason for giving teachers money.
We believe most teachers would prefer a show of gratitude from a parent rather than an envelope stuffed full of cash.