Korea: EI Denounces discriminatory property registration system for teachers

published 5 May 2021 updated 10 October 2023

The Korean Federation of Teachers Association (KFTA), a member organisation of Education International, reported that the Korean government is trying to impose new measures that would force teachers and other public servants to register their properties as well as those of their spouses, parents, children, and grandchildren with the authorities.

This would not just cover policy level officials in government, but apply to 1.5 million public employees, including about 410,000 teachers from kindergarten to university levels. Based on a request from KFTA, EI contacted member organisations in the OECD to find out if any of their countries had similar requirements. Of the nine member organisations responding, none had similar requirements.

Many had disclosure requirements for top government officials with political or major policy functions or where there might be conflict of interest dangers, but none had mandatory declaration requirements for teachers or all civil servants. Member organisations from OECD countries that have replied are from the United States, United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Japan, and Belgium. In addition, Bahrain, despite all of the other infringements of the rights of teachers, does not have property registration requirements for teachers. Several expressed support for the KFTA position.

EI General Secretary David Edwards denounced the mandatory property registration proposal and supports the position of the KFTA, saying that it is “clear and unjustified discrimination against teachers and other public employees. No such requirement is imposed on workers in the private sector. Once again, the government of Korea is singling out teachers and others in the public sector for special and unfavourable treatment. EI and its member organisations will continue to closely follow developments”.

To get the government to reconsider its position, the KFTA is urging the government to drop the proposal. It is conducting a signature campaign “Calling for All Members to Request Withdrawal of Property Registration System for all Teachers and Public Officials”, and explained that public education teachers oppose the property registration system and are preparing follow-up measures to make sure their voices are being heard.