NATIONAL

Education Ministry calls kindergarten strike ‘illegal’

By Bak Se-hwan
  • Published : Sept 12, 2017 - 17:09
  • Updated : Sept 12, 2017 - 20:56
South Korea’s education authorities on Tuesday declared an upcoming strike by private kindergartens illegal, warning that such collective action “will not be tolerated.”

Members of the Korea Kindergarten Association hold a banner reading “Equal Support for Public and Private Kindergartens!” at a rally in Yeouido, western Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

An association of private kindergarten operators is planning a general strike next week to demand a hike in government subsidies and protest the government’s plan to increase state-funded kindergartens. The group says over 3,600 institutions nationwide will join the three-day closure, to take place on Sept. 18, 25 and 26. Education offices are working to find out how many of them plan to strike. 

Education Minister Kim Sang-kon said Tuesday at a meeting attended by city and provincial education officials that such a strike would run afoul of the Childhood Education Act and should not be tolerated.

Kim called on local education offices to prepare measures to minimize inconvenience to parents if the strike takes place. Seoul and Gyeonggi provincial education offices said they would take legal action against institutions that join the illegal strike.

The Korea Kindergarten Association, which is organizing the action, demand the Moon Jae-in administration to withdraw a plan to increase public kindergartens to cover 40 percent of all kindergarten-age children by 2022 from the current 24 percent.  

It also demands that the government increase monthly subsidies for parents sending their kids to their institutions. The government currently provides a monthly subsidy of 980,000 won per child attending state-run kindergartens. For private kindergartens, parents get 290,000 won per child, roughly one-third of the amount provided for those attending state-run centers. 

By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com)

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