By Lee Hyo-sik
Teachers convicted of sexually or physically assaulting students will be permanently banned from teaching from April, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Monday. The same punishment will be applied to those found of taking bribes and manipulating student grades.
The offenders will also be restricted from becoming either after-school instructors or contracted teachers.
The ministry said three revised bills governing the code of conduct for teachers, as well as overseeing the operations of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, were passed last Friday by the National Assembly’s education, science and technology subcommittee.
The revisions, proposed by Rep. Kwon Young-jin of the governing Grand National Party (GNP), are expected to go into effect next month when they are approved during the Assembly’s plenary session.
Under the revised bills, teachers who commit any of the four crimes will be prohibited from returning to work.
All teachers at all public and private kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools, will be subject to the rule.
Until now teachers convicted of these criminal offenses were fired by schools and could not be rehired as school teachers. But if they voluntarily quit, they could later return to the teaching profession. Those who were put behind bars for any of the four crimes were allowed to return after five years.
Subsequently many convicted teachers have been reemployed as full-time teachers or contracted instructors at schools across the country.
``The revisions are designed to close such loopholes in the legal system. No teacher ever sentenced to a jail term will be able to teach at schools again,” a ministry official said. “It will significantly encourage teachers to behave themselves, and boost public trust in teachers and the overall educational system.”