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Gov’t to clarify ‘N. Korea’s invasion’ in new history curriculum

Gov’t to clarify ‘N. Korea’s invasion’ in new history curriculum

Posted October. 01, 2022 07:24,   

Updated October. 01, 2022 07:24


The South Korean government has decided to clarify that the Korean War broke out due to “North Korea’s invasion of South Korea” in the new history curriculum, which will be implemented starting with high school and middle school first graders in 2025. However, some groups’ demand to change “democracy” to “liberty and democracy” has not been accepted. The new curriculum will be finalized by the end of this year.

The education ministry publicized a revised plan for the 2022 revised education curriculum that calls for these changes on Friday. People’s opinions collected from Aug. 30 to Sept. 13 were reviewed by reviewers of different subjects to be reflected in the new curriculum. The draft curriculum, made public on the day, addresses content in subjects including Korean language, society, history, art, and physical education. The new curriculum is a guideline that defines the minimum of what is taught at school and will become the standard for writing textbooks in the future.

According to the revised curriculum, the wording “June 25 (Korean War),” which is contained in the first draft of history curriculums for middle and high schools, has been replaced with “Korean War that broke out due to North Korea’s invasion of South Korea.” As for the expression‎ “achievements and limitations of industrialization,” the word “limitations” has been removed as critics said it connotes a negative view of the development of the Korean economy.

In the society class textbook for the elementary school, the ministry has decided to replace ‘liberation’ with ‘August 15 liberation.’ The lesson on ‘the cause’ of the Korean War has also been added. As for titles in contemporary history, the wording “people who have been guarding peace and democracy” has been replaced with “efforts towards peace and reunification, and democratization and industrialization.” The suggestion to remove “sexual minority” when referring to social minority groups has not been accepted.

Many people’s opinions collected online have been accepted, but researchers insisted on their conventional beliefs about some other issues. The suggestion to replace “democracy” with “liberty and democracy” to convey the value of “liberty” in the history textbooks for middle and high schools has been rejected, as was the case for the suggestion to replace “the establishment of the Republic of Korean government” with ‘the establishment of the Republic of Korea” or “the founding of the Republic of Korea.”

The proposed revisions that have just been made public are not final. The ministry will conduct a second round of public opinion gathering. Afterward, a review by the committee on the coordination of itemized issues will be conducted, and thus there is a possibility for additional changes. The new education curriculum will be reviewed and approved by the National Education Committee, launched last month, before being publicized by the education minister at year’s end.

Sung-Min Park min@donga.com