A recent survey of 209 kindergarten teachers in May revealed the dire reality of the current educational scene in Korea, said the Daejeon branch of the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union on Thursday.
Asked about their personal experiences related to power abuse by kindergarten principals, a majority of the teachers said they undergo distress at their workplaces on a daily basis.
Pointing out that power abuse has long been present in Korean society, they said the frequency and degree are severe.
Comments on appearance or the way teachers dressed, such as “Put on your lipstick. You look sick” or “You should lose weight,” were often made. Principals would allegedly lash out at them, saying, “You are so out of shape that I can only think of Pengsoo, the chubby penguin character, whenever I see you.”
Most of the verbal abuse and mistreatment were met with soft administrative penalties from the education office. This does not help root out the existing problems, said the KTU.
Referring to problems many teachers have been facing and the absence of appropriate measures, the KTU called for fundamental reform measures to change the authoritative culture.
“We will request further investigation to clarify the truth and penalize those who deserve punishment, once we finish collecting the reported cases and gathering the victims’ opinions,” added the KTU.
By Lee Sae-byul (firstname.lastname@example.org