Teachers in Korea are not convinced

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January 28, 2008
Education circles are worrying about the new government’s policies. In particular, teachers, who stand at the forefront of overhauling major educational systems, seem ill at ease.
The Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association announced yesterday that 60 percent of teachers disagree with the government’s plan about English language education.
The plan is for both English and other subject classes in high schools be taught completely in English from 2010.
Only 16.6 percent of teachers agreed with the plan.
In addition, many teachers doubt that the new policies will reduce the cost of private tutoring.
President-elect Lee Myung-bak was actively poised to soothe education circles by meeting with superintendents of education boards in cities and provinces nationwide and the board of directors of the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association on Jan. 25, 2008.
There are many different opinions from many different interest groups on how to reform education in Korea.
But the first step is to devise a well-coordinated plan of action.
That plan must minimize the chaos.
The core element of the new government’s education policies is self-regulation and the innovation of English education. From an objective point of view, this leaves nothing to be desired.
The problem is that the planned reforms have made people, especially those in education circles, suspicious.
People are in turmoil, saying, “The government is acting too hastily,” and “We aren’t ready for such a great change.”
In which case, we need to go back to the drawing board and establish more concrete measures. There is a strong need to assess public opinion.
It is our view that the new government should not be fettered by controversies surrounding education policies, especially during the early days of the new administration.
This will only lead to delays and a wasted resources.
Above all, the new government should lay a firm foundation to promote its education policies. To do so, it should establish a concrete plan of action that students, parents and teachers can accept.
The new government should bear in mind that education is basically a long-term national policy.

original: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2885584

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