|▲ What the youth think of when it comes to labor varies in a wide spectrum, ranging from 'safety' to 'leisure'. Young people posted their expectations regarding labor on the board in a labor human rights education program for the youth organized by the Seongnam Municipal Youth Foundation in September this year. In the meanwhile, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government made public 'an implementation plan for the youth labor human rights and democratic citizen education' with the contents of, among others, the meaning of labor and the perspectives on occupation. [provided by the Gyeonggi Provincial Government]|
The Gyeonggi Provincial Government is creating a controversy by wholly slashing the provincial budget for the labor human rights education program targeting the students in the vocational high schools, while they are coming up with a new education program called 'an implementation plan for the youth labor human rights and democratic citizen education' from next year. As a result, the ongoing labor human rights education program which has been providing the students of the vocation high schools with the essential information and skills of how to write an employment contract and how to deal with unfair treatment against them in the workplace for two hours a year faces a crisis to be suspended.
According to the Gyeonggi Youth Labor Human Rights Network on November 18, the budget line for the youth labor human rights education program was completely deleted in the next year's provincial government budget draft.
The youth labor human rights education program has been implemented in the jurisdiction of the Gyeonggi Office of Education since 2014 during the time of former governor Nam Kyung-pil. An annual two-hour education program has been carried out for all the students in the vocational high schools in Gyeonggi Province with the support of the provincial government budget amounting to approximately 400 million won(US$ 356,000). Through the implementation of the program over a couple of years, in 2016 the Gyeonggi Office of Education produced a 'standard manual for the youth labor human rights education', the first publication of its kind in the country. The Gyeonggi Office of Education set up a plan to expand the education program to year 12 students of the ordinary high schools and requested a budget of 2 billion won(US$1.8 million) subsidizing the program to the Gyeonggi Provincial Government.
However, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government has wholly slashed the requested budget for the youth labor human rights education program for next year, rejecting the proposal put forward by the Gyeonggi Office of Education. Instead, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government introduced a new budget line in the drafted budget for ' the youth democratic citizen education', allocating a budget amounting to about 1 billion won(US$900,000) with the budget details of 386 million won for a labor human rights fair, 108 million won for the dissemination of manuals, and 500 million won for lecture fees and fostering the instructors.
The Gyeonggi Provincial Government is currently under the development a new manual with the subject of the protection of youth's labor human rights covering the value and fundamental principle of labor-related laws, how to write an employment contract, how to deal with unfair treatment, and necessary procedures for short-term jobs. The youth labor human rights democratic citizen education is one of election pledges made by current Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung.
Nevertheless, the problem lies in an abrupt suspension of a highly-appraised youth labor human rights education program having been implemented over the past four years without a particular reason. The Gyeonggi Youth Labor Human Rights Network said that "the implementation of a youth labor human rights education with a new budget for the Democratic Citizen Education Center and the suspension of the labor human rights education which has been obligatorily conducted by the (vocational high) schools contradicts each other," and reacted against the change (from the project currently under the jurisdiction of the Gyeonggi Office of Education to the one under the Gyeonggi Provincial Government), in arguing that "it does not make any sense to develop a new manual replacing the current well-developed manual which the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Gangwon Provincial Government even wished to make use of it."
A related official of the Gyeonggi Provincial Government explained in relation to the controversy that "the existing manual is for the use of instructors, while a new manual currently under development is a pocket guide with an easy mobile access to the internet for the youth in short-term employment," and continued that "it is a project to expand and enhance the labor human rights education, covering from the middle school students to college students including the vocational high school students."
reported by Kim Mi-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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