Representatives of the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) held a meeting for quality public education with President-elect Lee Myung-bak and the presidential transition committee on January 25th. Lee said, “Every educational policy which the presidential transition committee announced such as giving full autonomy to university authorities and strengthening English education in public education aims to enhance public education” and “The upcoming administration will make an effort for developing human resources with global competitiveness and securing equal opportunities for students of lower-income family by strengthening diversity and excellence in education.” President-elect emphasized the partnership with the KFTA saying, “It is important to make schools exciting to both teachers and students by raising the morale of teachers. I will consult with teachers when educational policies are made and implemented.”
With regard to President-elect Lee’s promises to improve public education and teachers’ morale, the KFTA president Lee Won-hee said, “I would like you to make policies to uplift teachers’ morale invariably” and requested to help the school education support center and to give autonomy to each school unit. The KFTA president Lee commented, “The presidential transition committee’s policy on English education is too hasty. If you implement educational policies step by step, the KFTA will promise the cooperation needed for the new policies to take root.” With respect to reorganizing the Ministry of Education, the KFTA president Lee advised, “The KFTA agrees to cut the Ministry of Education for the purpose of giving more autonomy to each school, however the central government should be responsible for the school’s core function, education budget, and personality education.”
In the following session to propose policies, the KFTA delivered the opinions of teachers on current educational issues including class size reduction and free education for 3 to 5-year-old children and asked for the upcoming administration’s cooperation. On this, President-elect Lee suggested, “I absolutely agree with the KFTA’s policies and alternatives. We should work together for a national campaign for promoting an atmosphere that respects teachers.”
The president-elect, his aids and spokesperson, chairperson and vice-chairperson of presidential transition committee participated in the meeting. As representatives of the KFTA, president, vice-presidents, presidents of local federation of teachers’ associations, and incumbent teachers were included.