On November 25th, the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations (KFTA) held a press conference at the Seoul Press Center to urge the government to address educational current issues. At the press conference, KFTA president Lee Won-hee announced the result of the signature collecting campaign in which teachers nationwide participated against education tax nullification and hiring freeze. He also called on the government to make its position clear and take measures against the current problems such as history textbook issue and the stoppage of free school meals offered to poor students during vacations.
In terms of the government policy of abolishing education tax, the KFTA president said, “The policy should be withdrawn because it runs counter to the demands of citizens and parents who hope the normalization of public education and the expansion of education budget.”
The signature collecting campaign was conducted nationwide by KFTA from October 27th to November 20th with participation of 217,441 of teachers. “It is unprecedented that such a large number of teachers participated in a single signature campaign for this short term” said the KFTA. It added, “If the government and lawmakers reflect on teachers’ sentiment, they should reject the bill abolishing education tax and revise the pension law for public officials in the direction of reflecting the particularities of teachers and public employees.”
About the history textbook issue, KFTA mentioned that the content of the history textbook in question which denies the legitimacy of the establishment of the Republic of Korea and Korean history should not be the object of the ideological dispute.
KFTA president talked about providing free meal for children from low income families “During vacations, the responsibility to provide free meals is shifted from school to the local administration, most of which issue free meal coupons to poor students having made contract with restaurants. Most of the children from low income families are reluctant to use those coupons.” He added that “The authority in charge of this issue should understand what’s actually going on and the condition that these children are in to prevent poor students from starving.”