The Korean National Education Information Systems (NEIS)

In March 2003, the Korean government proposed the implementation of a National Education Information System (NEIS). A limited amount of official information was available in English, including some from the Korean Education and Research Information Service.

The Asian Human Rights Commission – Korea reported that key features of the initiative were opposed by a coalition of civil rights organisations and the National Teacher’s Union, whose campaign included media releases, online & offline demonstrations, a lawsuit, and a hunger strike.

The Korea Times of 20 June 2003 reported that the Union organised strike action. According to some press reports, the dispute is reported to have extended to the arrest of the Union President.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) publicly declared (e.g. at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Human Rights Forum in February 2004) that it officially opposed the scheme.

The Government initially pressed ahead, but the Korea Times of 27 December 2003 reported that the senior Minister responsible had resigned over the affair. The Government was reported, e.g. by Korea IT News, to be re-considering the scheme’s features. One report, by Reporters Without Borders, said that: “A compromise was reached and a computerisation committee, including representatives of teachers, parent-teacher associations and the authorities, approved the principle of an independent version of the NEIS in each school. The database idea was maintained, but the data will not leave the school without the head teacher’s permission. This avoids the centralisation of all the confidential data and its use by the central government and the police”.

See also the account in the Privacy International Country Report.