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Teacher Suicide Reveals Dark Side of South Korea's Education System
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Published 9 months ago on
September 5, 2023

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The suicide of a young primary school teacher in South Korea has sparked nationwide outrage and calls for increased protections for educators. The 23-year-old teacher, identified as Min-so, had been dealing with constant harassment from parents before she took her own life. In response, tens of thousands of teachers went on strike demanding better working conditions and protection from overbearing parents.

Min-so’s diary entries and text messages revealed that she had been overwhelmed by incessant complaints from parents, which escalated after an incident where one student injured another with a pencil. The country’s competitive education culture, where academic success is paramount, fuels the pressure on teachers. A child welfare law passed in 2014 has also contributed to the problem, as it allows for teachers to be automatically suspended if accused of child abuse, a term that has been broadly applied to include any form of discipline.

The government has acknowledged the issue and issued new guidelines allowing teachers to remove disruptive students and refuse after-hours meetings with parents. However, many argue that more comprehensive reforms are needed, including a redefinition of societal success beyond academic grades.

Read more at BBC News.

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