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   KFTA requests Education Ministry for negotiation
   4755    2010-05-04

On April 1, KFTA made a negotiation request to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) to address the recent urgent issues including the government plans to eradicate corruption in education and expand principal recruitment through public subscription.

Under the Special Act for the Improvement of Teachers’ Status, KFTA and MEST can have a negotiation during the first and second half of every year whenever there is a special issue to discuss. But since they have actually negotiated once a year from 2002, the negotiation requested by KFTA this time will mean a special negotiation indeed.

KFTA’s request includes four negotiation agenda: open recruitment of school principals, withholding of KFTA membership fee from income at source, reasonable improvement of the mandatory open classes four times a year and teacher merit pay raise in 2011.

In the request, KFTA asked the government to defend confidence in promotion-based principal employment and limit the number of principals selected through public subscription to no more than 10% for regular schools to ensure the stability of teacher promotion system. The open recruitment plan for autonomous schools (which allows the application of unlicensed principal candidates) was asked to be abolished. Following the recent announcement of MEST to increase the ratio of publicly recruited principals for regular schools to 50%, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education released its plan to fully expand the ratio to 100%.

KFTA said the current mandatory four-times-a-year open class policy is unrealistic and therefore should be abolished. It demanded that teacher capacity development, assessment and management committee which will be organized in each school should decide whether, when and how to open class more than once a semester.

The method to give out teacher merit pay in 2011 was also included in the agenda. The government’s sudden announcement to increase the pay difference to over 50% this year and to introduce a school-based collective merit pay system from next year has caused controversy.

KFTA also requested to change legislations to allow professional teacher organizations established under the Basic Education Act to withhold membership fee from their member’s income at source. The government changed public employee remuneration rules late last year not to allow trade unions and professional organizations to collect membership fee without member’s consent. It has been criticized as a restraint on teacher organization activities.

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