The courts in South Korea have upheld the government's right to strip the Korean Teachers Union of its legal status. The  decision hinges on an obscure part of the country's law which says that dismissed teachers cannot be members of the union, a clause which is challenged by both the International Labour Organisation and Education International, which say that unions should have the right to determine their own membership rules. The final decision will now be made by the country's supreme court.

In truth, the decision further strengthens the government's ongoing campaign to destroy the Korean Teachers Union (KTU), which has long been a thorn in its side as the KTU struggles for democratic education against centralisation and corporate reform. Teachers have been dismissed both for boycotting standardised tests and for taking part in political activity which is banned for teachers in the country.

However the teachers continue to take a principled stand both for democratic education and for democratic rights in general. We have been reporting that  for many years. Teachers have seen their leaders arrested and their union assets seized in the last period. The present government of President Park Geun-Hye has stepped up the attacks and the protesters are demanding her resignation.

It is at very least ironic that South Korea was chosen as the venue for the recent World Education Forum, at which the President of South Korea was given a platform and a standing ovation at the opening ceremony, which was attended by among others Education International and UNESCO.