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Political row over history education deepens Updated: 2015-10-15 04:02:50 KST


The ruling Saenuri Party reiterated Wednesday that the purpose of a government-issued textbook is to correct distorted descriptions of Korea's modern history, including an alleged lenient view on North Korea, while also being harshly critical of South Korea's authoritarian past.
The ruling party says it expects a neutral, unbiased history education, that engenders future generations with pride and national unity.


"We need to fix the biased ideological education given to our students, as it will be an historic error and a big mistake by adults."

Regarding the opposition bloc's criticism, that only three OECD countries, Greece, Turkey, and Iceland, use single, government-issued history textbooks, the conservative party stressed Korea is the only divided country among OECD members, and that Korea's unique situation should be taken into consideration.
But the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy says the government decision goes counter to democracy.
The liberal party has not only created a special internal committee to halt the government's move, but is also uniting with the minor Justice Party and five-term lawmaker Chun Jung-bae, who's expected to soon create a new liberal party.
On Wednesday, Chairman of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy Moon Jae-in continued criticizing the government saying the decision violates Article 31 of Korea's Constitution which says education should be politically neutral.


"President Park Geun-hye said the necessity is to teach proper history. But glorifying the history of collaborating with Japanese colonialism and dictatorship cannot be proper."

Since 2003, a system of adopting single, government-issued history textbooks for middle and high schools changed to an alternative system giving government authorization to private publishers.
Currently, there are 10 history textbooks for middle schools, and eight for high schools, which all passed government authorization.
A recent public survey by Realmeter shows tense confrontation over the matter, with over 47-percent of respondents favoring returning to government-issued textbooks, while nearly 45-percent oppose the government's move.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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