Education committee passes ‘teacher rights restoration bills’

The parliamentary education committee passed a set of revisions aimed at enhancing teachers' rights Friday as a series of suicides by teachers has sparked demands for the improvement of their rights in classrooms.

The deaths sparked criticism that South Korea's school system and related laws fail to protect teachers' authority in classrooms and discourage them from taking necessary disciplinary measures, out of fear of being accused of child abuse.

The four revisions, known as the "teacher rights restoration bills," aim to strengthen the criteria to hold teachers accountable for child abuse and provide grounds for the schools and education offices to protect them against disgruntled parents or unruly behavior from students.

A controversial provision that would allow teachers to leave a record of students who infringe upon their rights during education activities was not included, as the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

The revised bills will later be deliberated at the legislation and judiciary committee, then be put to a vote at a plenary session of the National Assembly next Thursday.

"They will be approved at the plenary session on Sept. 21," said Rep. Kim Young-ho from the main opposition Democratic Party. "People will feel the change in schools soon, as the bills were designed to take effect immediately after their promulgation."

Source: Yonhap News Agency