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S. Korea's private kindergartens scrap strike plan

South Korea's private kindergarten operators on Sunday called off their planned strike amid rising public criticism and parents' concern. 

The Korea Kindergarten Association had planned to temporarily halt operations on Monday and Sept. 25-29 in protest of the government's plan to increase state-funded kindergartens which they fear may crowd them out. They are also asking for more financial support. 

The advocate group for private-owned kindergartens said the plan was formally cancelled and most of institutions will be operated as usual.

"We're sorry to parents of children for causing concern and discomfort," said Choi Jeong-hye, who heads the association, at a press conference at the National Assembly.

"The association and our members will give our utmost effort for children to have a good education."

But the association said some members still stick to the stoppage plan.

The education ministry last week declared the strike illegal and warned of stern punishment.

For the past few days, the association was in turmoil as its members differed over their course of action. The plan was dropped after hard-line members reportedly quit the group after a dispute largely over their stance on government regulations on financing.

Hard-liners requested a regulation revision to give more freedom to private kindergarten owners on budget use, others were reportedly reluctant, saying such demand will not be accepted by the government. (Yonhap)