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South¡¯s perceptions of North brighten

Posted August. 10, 2000 13:37,   


Since the June 15 inter-Korean normalization talks, much of the hostile perceptions among the South`s teachers and students toward the North`s leadership have been lessening.

A study was conducted by the Korean Educational Development Institution from June 15 through 30 of approximately 2,621 teachers and students at 94 elementary to high schools around the nation. The results show that the perceptions among teachers and students have taken a sharp turn toward a more positive one toward the North`s leadership and its people.

Responding to the question of whether the North`s leadership, including leader Kim Jong-Il, should be considered as enemies, there was a sharp drop from last year¡¯s 52.7% to 16.5% now. For the question, whether the respondents viewed the people of the North as neighbors, there was sharp increase from 31.0% last year to 71.3% this year.

This shift in perception pervaded through both the teachers and the student body.

The respondents also were of the opinion that ¡°reunification will take place¡± (76.1%) and that "unification must take place" (increase from 59.0% to 71.2%).

While close to half of the respondents (45.6%) predicted that a degree of social chaos would accompany reunification, 62.1% were of the opinion that reunification would lead to an overall greater development of Korea. However, only a third (30.2%) responded affirmatively to the question of whether the unification would lead to their personal happiness.

Of the respondents, 62.1% felt that the inter-Korean summit had helped them better understand the North`s society, 80.3% felt that it had lent a great help toward the cooperative talks between the two Koreas, and 69.6% felt that it had shortened the schedule for reunification.

"Reunification education in the days to come must teach our children the correct attitudes and consciousness that will be imperative for the two Korean societies to become one and form a single society," a senior member of the KEDC said.