As political groups and educational groups fell into confusion with the new private school law reform, the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations (KFTA) said "The government should suspend plans to implement the private school reform law and amend the law." In the conference the KFTA also proposed to allow teachers (from kindergarten to high school) to engage in politics and challenge ‘New Right Teachers' Associations’ .
Mr. Youn Jong-Gun the president of the KFTA held a press conference in northern Seoul on January 11th to announce the KFTA's standpoints about current educational issues.
▲ “National Council on Private School Law Reform"
Mr. Youn said that the revised private law has several serious problems; 11 items have the possibility to violate the Constitution and 8 items can infringe on the autonomy of private schools.
The KFTA suggested that the ruling party and opposition party reach an agreement in an extra session of the National Assembly in February to suspend the private school reform laws for a year and constitute a national council to discuss amendments to the private school reform law. Mr. Youn added "Current private school tax audits by the government are nothing but, a wrongly targeted inspection and a despotic use of political power."
▲“Guarantee of Teachers' Political Activity"
Recently the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRC) recommended, "Primary and secondary teachers should be fully allowed to engage in political activities." With regards to the recommendation of the NHRC, Mr. Yoon remarked, "Not only the fundamental rights of teachers in politics but also those of professional teachers' organization should be totally secured." He added:
Political activity by teachers is prohibited because teachers as civil servants should be politically neutral in educating children; however teachers have fundamental rights stated in the Constitution. The fundamental rights in politics of primary and secondary teachers are restricted compared to the faculty members of colleges that are free to engage in politics. The KFTA is guaranteed rights by the Constitution and Educational Law, but it is also restrained from political activity.
He also commented, "Assuming that the political neutrality in teaching students and protecting the rights of children to learn is accomplished then the fundamental rights in politics for teachers and the KFTA is systematically guaranteed."
▲“New Teachers' Association as a Bona-fide Competitor"
Relating to the establishment of new right wing teachers' associations, Mr. Yoon was concerned of the possibility of ideological conflicts between existing teachers' organizations and new teachers' organizations detracting from the protection of the rights of teachers and educational improvements. Mr. Yoon proposed that we avoid ideological struggles or unnecessary disputes and have a competitive friendship for 'Good Education Good Teachers' which students, parents, and all nations desire.