Education International
Education International

Korea: Survey shows 6 out of 10 teachers suffer from occupational illnesses

published 22 June 2009 updated 22 June 2009

On the occasion of the 58th Education Week, the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations (KFTA) conducted a teacher survey. The survey showed that six out of ten teachers have experienced or are now suffering from occupational diseases and many of them are under great stress from negative media reports and social criticism against them.

The overall morale of teachers is found to be low due to these factors.

In the survey, 67.2% of teachers said they have or have experienced occupational diseases. The most common symptom was vocal nodule (34.4%) and others complained of hair loss due to mental stress or varicose veins caused by long standing pressure during class.

KFTA spokesman Kim Dong-seok said, "KFTA and Education Ministry agreed to recognize teacher's occupational symptoms including varicose veins as an injury caused in the course of public service in 2006. But it was dismissed due to the opposition from relative government agencies." "The nature of teaching profession should be considered," he claimed.

As for job satisfaction, 55.42% of teachers said their job satisfaction and morale have declined during one or two recent years. Among the reasons for the decline, the loss of teacher authority on students and parents ranked the top with 66.4%.

Stress factors for teachers included social criticism against teachers (25.3%), overburden of class loads and sundry duties (23.7%) and parental disrespect for teacher authority (15.5%).

"The survey demonstrates a significant decline in the morale of teachers. Majority of them said they have thought about leaving for another profession," said spokesman Kim. "Especially efforts should be made to expand respect for teachers in overall society."

The survey was conducted online on 628 teachers including principals, vice principals and teachers of all levels.

Note: This article was reproduced from the June 2009 issue of the KFTA Newsletter.