Chosun Ilbo | Apr. 12, 2007
Gov’t Warns Teachers Union Off Anti-FTA Classes
The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has asked provincial education offices to prevent the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union from teaching classes against the recently concluded Korea-U.S. free trade agreement. The teachers’ union has been conducting anti-FTA classes since March 26 and posted anti-FTA class materials on its homepage. The class materials were based on reports from MBC and KBS reports on the side effects of the Korea-U.S. trade deal. The union also encourages teachers to let students debate the pros and cons of the FTA.
The Education Ministry in an official notice said it was wrong to teach young students about the negative effects of free trade deals when they have no sound views on social phenomena, especially by citing the cases of Canada and Mexico, whose trade conditions are very different from Korea’s. The ministry said the class materials are liable to instill an anti-free trade attitude in the students.
Unionized teachers must get prior approval from their principals before conducting classes on the Korea-U.S. trade pact, the ministry said. The KTEWU has not officially commented on the ministry’s position.