[EDITORIALS]Balance student textbooksIntellectuals have launched a movement called “The Textbook Forum” to redress some history textbooks used in high schools. They contend the texts deny the legitimacy of the Republic of Korea. They said such biased historical views should be corrected through symposiums, and new accurate textbooks should be published.
The Textbook Forum said the particular book in question is one from Kumsung Publishing Co. called “Modern Korean History for High School.” The intellectuals said this book describes modern Korea as a nation that should have never been born due to a past studded with dictatorships, disputes and capitalistic ironies. On the other hand, North Korea was characterized as a neutral and amicable state.
Such views are wrong. The problem is that the book was written based on leftist ideologies. From this point of view, the Textbook Forum is right about the matter.
However, every version of history has two sides. It is not always right to emphasize the sunny side. That is why it is dangerous to teach young students, who are not yet intellectually grown, with books that are inclined toward certain historical psychologies. Therefore, it is desirable that textbooks are authored by many historians with various historical views so that they can carry objective and balanced viewpoints. History books should provide the bright and the dark sides of history. That is why textbooks are now made after being authorized by the state instead of being compiled entirely by the government. It was proof that the society has developed a sympathetic bond and we are now mature enough to deal with various historical views.
We should not let controversial talk over the content of the textbook continue into arguing about the current political situation. It is more urgent that wrong information be corrected while a guide to ideologically-balanced writing be handed down. To prevent biased history books, the committee that authorizes textbooks should be composed of diversified members.
It is of utmost importance that school systems are improved so that schools can select textbooks approved as legitimate sources by the history intellectuals. We should let parents participate in choosing what textbooks our children should learn from instead of letting a few teachers, such as the ones involved in the teacher’s union, choose textbooks.