Go to contents

Reform of Unification Education to Follow Constitution

Posted July. 11, 2009 09:13,   


The government is pushing to reform unification education to comply with the values of the Constitution and cater to student expectations and capacity.

Hong Jae-hyung, president of the state-run Institute of National Unification, said yesterday, “Unification through freedom and democracy is the fundamental value of the Republic of Korea as defined by the Constitution, and unification education is an important means to realize the values under the Constitution.”

“We are developing diverse methods that can instill students with value judgments and behavior about unification in line with this definition.”

Hong’s comments indicate that by defining unification education as a constitutional mandate, the institute will seek to overcome controversy over unification’s concept between conservatives and liberals. The move comes as political leaders who supported the “sunshine policy” of engaging North Korea criticize the Lee Myung-bak administration’s definition of unification education`s goal, blasting it as a “return to anti-communism education.”

The Lee administration had defined instilling a belief in “future-oriented unification,” “sound security” and “balanced perception towards North Korea” as the goals of unification education.

The Preamble to the Constitution clearly suggests “having assumed the mission of democratic reform and peaceful unification of our homeland and having determined to consolidate national unity with justice, humanitarianism and brotherly love.” Article 4 says, “The Republic of Korea shall seek unification and shall formulate and carry out a policy of peaceful unification based on the principles of freedom and democracy.”

Hong also said, “We decided to appeal to the younger generation, who are very individualistic, by emphasizing that unification will give practical and specific benefits to one’s life while going beyond the practice of viewing unification as an obligation or mandate of the Korean people.”

He thus indicated that the government will seek to present specific benefits from unification rather than the costs necessary for it.

The government will also develop video materials, including flash software and animation videos, to effectively cater to students, and take advantage of Internet TV (IPTV) being introduced to all schools. It also plans to increase the number of classes and teachers.

kyle@donga.com zeitung@donga.com