Korea's history: What text should high-schoolers read?





SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - Scholars and bureaucrats here are debating modern Korean history in a dispute that epitomizes differences between Korean leftists and conservatives.

At stake is whether the government should order the authors of textbooks used in secondary schools throughout the country to revise them in line with the conservative outlook of President Lee Myung Bak and his top aides as well as the Defense Ministry.

Foreign as well as Korean intellectuals have risen to the defense of the textbook authors in a statement signed by more than 660 scholars, 112 from overseas.

"It is of grave concern," says the statement submitted to the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, "that the current attempt to revise history textbooks appears to be driven by a specific political agenda to homogenize history textbooks, as demanded by the 'New Right' and parts of the governing group."

The statement charges that the ministry would allow "only one historical interpretation" – an approach that "leads to the repression of academic freedom in research and publication."



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