SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Scouts, once a symbol of youth, will be disappearing from elementary, middle, and high schools in Seoul as the city’s office of education decided to relieve teachers from being involved in youth organizations.
The Seoul Office of Education announced on Sunday that it would ask all teachers to “exclude youth organization activities from official tasks starting this year”.
A program that has been offering promotion benefits to teachers who led more than 100 hours of youth organization activities will also be shut down in 2022.
Financial contribution being sent to the Korea Scout Association, Red Cross Youth, and 13 other youth organizations will be reduced to half of the original amount at 45 million won (US$40,000).
Managing youth organization activities has been one of the tasks shunned by many teachers because it involves keeping discipline of numerous students in an outdoor activity.
Teachers unions have constantly been asking the authorities to remove youth organization activities from official school tasks.
The Seoul Office of Education explained that excluding youth organization activities from official school tasks does not prevent teachers from voluntarily taking charge of these types of activities.
The office also announced plans to organize a special task force to create a new system where local communities can be responsible for youth organization activities.
The new measures were met with strong opposition from youth organizations, concerned that they may be sidelined from school activities.
“Youth organizations provide meaningful experience to students that they cannot normally receive at school,” said the National Council of Youth Organizations in Korea.
“Excluding youth organizations from official school tasks without any consultation with youth organizations amounts to a legal violation.”
The organization has posted a petition on the Seoul Office of Education website, asking the office to retract the new measures. The petition has collected more than 4,000 signatures so far.
“Youth organizations in South Korea began and grew at schools. It’s a pity that schools now see them as ‘miscellaneous work’,” said one youth instructor.
“Less than 5 percent of scouts join through local scouting offices. Other youth organizations don’t even have local offices.”
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)