Teachers in South Korea are against government moves to control the teaching of history. The government is stopping teachers from choosing history textbooks and instead imposing one centrally, authored by themselves. They claim that other textbooks are too 'left-leaning.'

As is the practice of the Park administration, thousands of teachers are now being threatened with disciplinary action, including dismissal for expressing their disagreement with the plans in public. The government's action is meeting opposition however, both from local education boards and from the public. According to polls a majority are opposed to the textbook plans.

The Korean Teachers Union (KTU), which has a long tradition of fighting for labour rights and for democratic education is not cowed by the government threats, despite the fact that it is filing for criminal charges against leading KTU members. On Saturday it took part in mass demonstrations in the capital, Seoul and all this week it is holding candlelit vigils.

It is deeply ironic that the South Korean administration is held up as a bastion of democracy against the dictatorial regime in North Korea, when its labourĀ and education policies so flagrantly deny democratic rights, in a not dissimilar way from its northern neighbour. President Park Guen Hye is also at meetings of the 'great and the good' in the education global reform movement.