Gyeonggi to fire 1,400 temp teachers next year

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Gyeonggi to fire 1,400 temp teachers next year

As local education authorities struggle to find funding for free school meals and day care, the Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education said it will fire about 1,400 temporary teachers to free up money for the two welfare policies next year.

According to middle and high schools in Gyeonggi, the education office circulated a document on Thursday that says master teachers and career counseling teachers must teach all of their classes and that temporary teachers who fill in for them will be dismissed. Previously, master teachers and career counselors were exempt from teaching half of their classes and would instead use that time to work as counselors for or privately with students while temporary teachers took their place. The document also said one-year research leave for regular teachers will be suspended.

With master teachers and career counselors teaching full-time, 610 temporary teachers will lose their jobs, along with 358 who fill in during research leave. The layoffs will take effect next year.

The provincial education authority also plans reduce its number of contracted school nurses and teachers who specialize in teaching disabled students by 400.

The local education office estimated the layoffs will save about 62 billion won ($56.5 million).

The plan drew acute criticism from temporary workers, and master teachers also did not welcome it.

“We lost our job because of the free school meal policy,” said a temporary worker who requested anonymity.

“It is like master teachers are driving away temporary workers, who used to be their coworkers,” said Kim Su-bun, vice president of Gyeonggi Secondary School Master Teachers’ Association. “Some master teachers are even saying they will quit instead.”

But the Gyeonggi education authority said the lay-offs are inevitable.

“The restructuring is necessary because the provincial education office already has 640-billion-won deficit even without setting aside for the free day care budget,” said an official of the education office.

Due to financial difficulties, the provincial education office has not set aside money in its budget to fund free day care for the next school year, which starts in March.

Provincial education offices nationwide held a meeting earlier this month and most decided to allocate money in their budget to support free day care for about three more months.

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