What’s your ‘true education’ anyway?The Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union went too far again. After refusing to accept the final warning of the Ministry of Employment and Labor, which required the union to revoke the membership status of its nine dismissed members, the KTU chose to become a union existing outside of the law. Its members poured out onto the street to protest against the ministry’s ultimatum.
They are teachers. But they are not acting like teachers. A teacher’s primary role is to present himself as a good model for his or her students. Abiding by rules and laws is what they must do as educators.
According to the Labor Union Act and Labor Relations Adjustment Act, dismissed workers are not allowed to hold a union membership unless they are illegally laid off. If the union ignores the law and recognizes dismissed workers as members, the authority can give a warning and a corrective order to the union.
I cannot help but wonder if they are really sincere about carrying out true education. Apart from the legality of the union, it has long been at the center of controversies because of its left-wing inclination. Few would disagree with the fact that the prevailing image of the KTU is an organization whose members always teach their students with left-leaning ideologies and are absorbed in excessively boisterous acts.
What makes me shudder even more is that the union is planning to have its members take their annual leave in unison on weekdays under the pretext of realizing true education. How could teachers think of taking students hostage?
The KTU is not what it used to be. Most of its members are in their 40s or 50s, and many young teachers are refusing to get involved in the union. If the top brass of the KTU keeps maintaining their current policy of disregarding the law and relying on blackmail, it will invite strong public outrage.
* Yun Joo-seong Student at Chungnam National University