October 13, 2015 11:13
The government on Monday said it wants to reintroduce official history textbooks for middle and high schools by 2017 to counter what it claims is leftwing content in current privately published textbooks.
Education Minister Hwang Woo-yea told reporters, "The government will write history textbooks based on objective facts so that young people can have balanced view of history."
Official history books were brought in during the reign of military strongman Park Chung-hee in 1974 but abolished in 2011. Now textbooks are published by the private sector but monitored by the government.
Critics fear that the new textbooks will teach only the government's views while denying students their right to choose different perspectives. The government insists the content will not be biased since they will be the work of some 20 to 40 historians.
Critics point out that any leftwing bias and factual errors in the current history texts are the fault of the government, which failed to draw up clear standards and guidelines and did not review books properly once they were published.
History textbooks are produced by eight publishers subject to approval by an independent review committee. Schools can choose which of the eight they use.
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