Economics textbook neededThe Federation of Korean Industries is distributing demo editions of a “next-generation economics textbook,” which it developed with the Education Ministry. It is directed at teachers and students of high schools. About 2,000 copies have been distributed already and 5,000 more are waiting to be distributed. This shows that there are many teachers and students who want economic education materials that are faithful to market economy principles.
The Education Ministry planned to distribute these demo editions to all high schools, but canceled that plan in the face of strong opposition from the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Instead, the Education Ministry distributed three to five demo textbooks, a total of 1,500 copies, to each municipal and provincial Office of Education, library and research institute.
That’s why the Federation of Korean Industries, Korea’s largest business lobby group, decided to distribute the books to the high schools by itself.
Initially, the Education Ministry proposed to the FKI to cooperate on improving economic education. In February of last year, the ministry and the FKI signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate economic education. This year, the Korea Economic Education Association completed work on the so-called “next-generation high school economics textbook” demo edition. At the time the Education Ministry made it public, the ministry was enthusiastic, saying it would distribute the books to all high schools nationwide, so that students can learn economics in a fun and easy manner. However, when the aforementioned labor unions complained that the textbooks were too corporate-friendly, the Education Ministry erased its name as “joint developer.” The ministry went further, refusing to distribute the demo textbooks altogether.
Do they really want to teach economics, or do they want to be a mouthpiece for the teachers’ and labor union?
Some critics say current economics textbooks distort information about market principles and deny some things altogether. Wasn’t this next-generation textbook supposed to set that straight?
We need true economic education that helps students understand market economy principles correctly. Why should ideology intrude on this goal? The Education Ministry should take its hands off economic education and not interfere in the FKI’s efforts.