KFTA attended the 26th ASEAN Council of Teachers (ACT) Convention held from 9th through 12th of December the Subic Bay Convention Center in the observer status, engaging in forging active diplomatic ties with teachers' unions in ASEAN countries.
The ACT Convention is an annual education festival alternately held by teachers' unions in nine different countries in Southeast Asia including the Philippines and Thailand. The convention organized by the Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA) this year under the theme of 'ASEAN Educators: Rising Above Challenging times' was attended by 1,367 teachers from seven countries.
As such, KFTA has made one step closer towards global diplomacy from the exchanges mainly with the Western world and Northeast Asia, paving the way for Korea to better understand various cultures as a greater melting pot.
At the opening ceremony, KFTA president Ahn Yang-ok said, "Teachers in Korea take a great interest in the education system in ASEAN countries, hoping for greater exchanges with them."
KFTA had meetings with teachers' unions in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam, making achievements in forming the basis for exchanges with them.
KFTA president Ahn Yang-ok had a meeting with Mario Ramirez, the president of the PPSTA, agreeing upon exchanges between the bilateral organizations in the central and regional levels alike.
Given that Korea has a well-established local autonomous government system while the Philippines is dotted with numerous islands whose autonomous government takes strong root, exchanges in the regional level could become effective. The meeting was also attended by heads of teachers' unions in the Subic region, thus enabling municipal and provincial teachers' unions to have exchanges anytime down the road. President Mario Ramirez of the PPSTA announced that he will ensure that meetings among teachers' unions and school visits could be made available for teachers' unions and teachers from Korea.
KFTA and the Teachers Council of Thailand (KHURUSAPHA) also agreed upon one-on-one exchanges at their meeting. Thailand taking a great interest in teachers' training programs and welfare systems in Korea decided to for three teams to pay visit to Korea within December. Thailand invited KFTA at the 24th ACT Convention, providing the ground for KFTA and ASEAN countries to further their exchanges.
The National Education Union of Vietnam (NEUV) and KFTA decided to jointly conduct researches on education on reunification in which KFTA proposed its Vietnamese counterpart for a joint research so that it could learn lessons on the integration of the education system after reunification of the two Koreas. Vietnam was significantly interested in fostering leaders of teachers' organizations, for which KFTA with 63 years of history pledged to provide full support.
The Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI) with keen eyes on teacher training programs was eager to forge exchanges with KFTA, and said it would sign an agreement with KFTA by visiting Korea early next January.
KFTA and the Singapore Teachers' Union (STU) held a meeting with a focus on joint researches. KFTA proposed joint researches on teacher evaluation, public-election system of a principal and corporal punishment to the STU.
The Brunei Malay Teachers Association slated to host the next ACT convention hoped to forge exchanges on education policies and systems with KFTA, which promised to provide full support.
Mario Ramirez, the president of the PPSTA, announced that KFTA will take in the next ACT Convention to be held in March and April next year not as an observer but as an associate organization. The counterpart in Brunei said that it would invite KFTA to the 27th ACT Convention.