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Government to Correct Biased Textbooks

Posted May. 15, 2008 07:27,   


In response to criticism over the biased contents of modern history and social studies textbooks, the government has decided to overhaul their contents.

To this end, the government will add governmental and non-governmental agencies and relevant experts to the Council for Better Curriculum and Textbooks created in 2005, and correct textbooks from the first semester of 2009.

The Gwanghwamun Cultural Forum held a luncheon forum entitled “The Lee Myung-bak Government’s Policy on Education and Science“ at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday. At the forum, Education, Science and Technology Minister Kim Do-yeon announced his decision to correct lopsided textbook contents.

In response to the comment, “Some people have argued that students have biased knowledge of history since textbooks approved by the former education ministry have some problems,” Kim said, “Korea’s modern history should be a source of pride. Therefore, it is not right to look down at our modern history. I think our history textbooks and education are a bit biased to the left.”

He added, “At the request of several organizations, at least 300 contents were corrected in 2007 alone. We have already begun reviewing history textbooks and will adjust their contents after consulting experts.”

The education ministry finalized the list of textbook contents in need of correction after reviewing six history textbooks used by senior high school students and 15 by younger students and recommendations made by relevant organizations.

The National Institute of Korean History, in charge of editing history textbooks, will adjust the contents to stress the legitimacy of Korea based on the “guidelines of writing history textbooks” amended last month.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance and 33 organizations including the Bank of Korea, the Federation of Korean Industries, and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry participated in the seventh Council for Better Curriculum and Textbooks last month and agreed to send a list of economic contents in social studies textbook that should be corrected to the education ministry by mid-June.

The education ministry will allow publishers of government-authorized textbooks and government-approved textbooks to review opinions over the revisions and apply the revised contents to the textbooks, which will be published next year.

At the same time, the ministry believes that recently used history textbooks do not reflect a diversified historical consciousness since they were written and reviewed only by historians. It plans to encourage social scientists to participate in textbook writing and reviewing to ensure content diversity.

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