|President Yoon Suk-yeol enters a ceremony of accepting credentials of non-resident ambassadors to Korea at the presidential office in Seoul on July 20, 2023./ Source: Yonhap News
AsiaToday reporter Hong Sun-mi
President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the Ministry of Education on Monday to notify and revise educational ordinances in a way that can strengthen teachers’ authority.
“As the revision of the elementary and secondary educational laws and enforcement ordinances adopted by the government as a state task to strengthen teaching power has recently been completed, promptly devise an education ministry notification that is a detailed guideline for the field,” Yoon was quoted by presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon as saying.
Yoon gave the instruction during a meeting with his aides, apparently in response to the growing demand for addressing the infringement of teachers right, following the apparent suicide of a young elementary teacher in Seoul and the assault on an elementary teacher last week.
Last month, the Enforcement Decree of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which allows principals and teachers to discipline students in the fields of academic, career, health and safety, personality, and interpersonal relationships, was passed at the Cabinet meeting.
Due to the lack of grounds for teachers’ guidance on student life, it was virtually impossible for them to give advice, counsel, and discipline students effectively at schools.
“Consult with the party and local governments to revise unreasonable educational ordinances that can potentially infringe upon teachers’ rights in schools,” the president said.
Yoon was apparently referring to the student human rights ordinance that was first enacted in 2010 and has been enforced by seven regional educational offices, including Seoul’s and Gyeonggi Province’s. The purpose of the ordinance was to guarantee student human rights, freedom, and rights, but criticism continued that the excessive focus on student human rights dampened teachers’ legitimate guidance activities.
“Many pointed out that the ordinance unilaterally infringes on teachers’ rights,” an official from the presidential office said. “There are problems in the areas where the ordinance was created and the education offices. Looking at this, there is a problem,” the official pointed out.