South Korea considers state control over school history textbooks

Historians in the News
tags: South Korea, History Textbooks



South Korea’s government may take back control over school history textbooks from private publishers next month, the education minister said, as debate over the region’s past heats up ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in the second world war.

“History should be taught in one way to avoid division of the people,” Hwang Woo-yea told the Yonhap national news agency, in remarks published on Wednesday. “At the moment, since there are various history textbooks, there can be confusion.”

Mr Hwang — a trusted associate of President Park Geun-hye, who has given him the additional title of deputy prime minister — said that he would not rule out the reintroduction of a single, state-provided history textbook “if necessary”.

The government’s position on the subject will be announced next month, following a 20-month review by the education ministry that was launched in the wake of a controversy over a supposedly misleading textbook.

Government control over the school history syllabus was asserted under military rule in 1974, and ended in 2010. Since then, schools have been free to choose between a range of books produced by private publishers, which must first be approved by the education ministry.




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