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Illegal attack on rightist history textbook

Posted September. 17, 2013 04:28,   


Publishing company Kyohaksa delivered its will to the authors of its rightist Korean history textbook for high school with regard to printing the textbook. According to the publishing house, despite its strong wish to give up publishing the history textbook, the company and the authors had failed to reach an agreement.

Leftist camps have bombarded the company carping at the textbook’s historical perspective and fallacy while the publisher has suffered from threatening phone calls, including those about boycott and even a threat to kill the company president. To stay afloat in the market the company decided to give up printing the controversial textbook. Certain groups have made attacks that infringe Constitutional freedom of study, publication and expression.

Education Minister Seo Nam-soo said that the ministry would have errors in textbooks be corrected while ensuring various views on history, adding that it would correct and amend all of the eight Korean history textbooks that passed inspection. This announcement was made after criticisms that other Korean history textbooks also have many errors. The ministry expected this announcement to subside the controversy over history textbooks, but the announcement was like fuel added to fire.

Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education, led by the "progressive superintendent," announced Monday that the textbook of Kyohaksa proved to be biased and erroneous based on its own study result. The Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union staged a demonstration Monday to ask for a cancellation of the approval of the textbook. Authors of the other seven history textbooks said they would refuse the request by the Education Ministry for the modification to their writings.

The authors lack causes for the refusal, however. Though the writers claim they will not let their works go through approval process again, what the ministry asks for is to correct the wrongs of facts. Those against modification also say it will be a violation of the Presidential Degree of Regulations on Textbooks. According to the decree, making an order for textbooks should be made six months prior to the beginning of a new semester. They say that if modification to the textbooks continues into late November, only three months will be left until a new semester. However, the six-month rule has already been breached because of the delay of process. Correcting erroneous facts is about moral obligation, not about rules.

Leftist historians have long been powerful in the fields of history. As a small number of rightist authors try to introduce a history textbook with a different point of view, this effort has met with a severe opposition by local education offices, city councils and the teachers’ union. The authors of the other seven history textbooks should follow the government decision to correct the textbooks and wait along with Kyohaksa’s textbook to be selected by individual schools.