Go to contents

Gov’t to Revamp Left-Leaning Unification Education

Posted April. 28, 2008 09:16,   


The Unification Ministry has adjusted the content of unification education for both adults and students with President Lee Myung-bak’s North Korea policy, emphasizing the importance of national security and North Korea’s human rights issues.

Some left-leaning lecturers, who have been slammed for propagating distorted views on North Korea for the past decade, are going to be replaced and textbooks describing North Korea’s history in a positive tone revised.

Vice Minister of Unification Hong Yang-ho held a working-level meeting for unification education, attended by officials from relevant ministries and the private sector on April 24 and confirmed basic plans and guidelines for 2008, according to news reports released Sunday.

The Education Center for Unification under the Unification Ministry has reinforced the content of unification education, aiming at instilling in adults the importance of national security focusing on North Korea’s nuclear issue and the relation between South Korea and the United States and informing them of North Korea’s human rights abuses, according to some participants of the meeting.

The center has elevated such courses as “International Affairs and Security Issues” and “Security on the Korean Peninsula and Importance of the ROK-U.S. Alliance” from elective subjects to mandatory ones. Some courses that have previously been available for soldiers are going to be open to ordinary citizens.

The center also has opened compulsory courses including “North Korea’s Human Rights,” targeting school inspectors and teachers, and a similar course for citizens.

Lectures on security and North Korea’s human rights will be taken care of by conservative figures, such as Baek Seung-joo, former advisor at the now-defunct presidential transition committee and in charge of managing defense issues at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Park Yeong-ho, head of International Affair team of the Education Center for Unification, and Yun Yeo-sang, chairman of the Information Center for North Korea’s Human Rights.

Progressive figures, who took part in drawing up and implementing the sunshine policy pursued by previous administrations, have been taken off the lecturer list. When the center began recruiting lecturers in January, it made clear that left-leaning figures would be excluded.

The center has also changed the content positively depicting and judging North Korea, and its history from the 2008 edition of “Understanding of North Korea” and “Understanding of Unification Issues,” the government’s two official text books for unification, due out early next month.

In addition, the center plans to develop advanced lectures for opinion leaders and interactive workshops. To increase the effectiveness of education, it will also step up cooperation with relevant ministries including education, defense and justice ministries.

Unification Minister Kim Ha-joong explained these new polices at a lunch meeting with local heads of the association of unification education and asked for their cooperation on Friday.