History lessonsThe National History Compilation Committee has devised guidelines to modify history textbooks.
The guidelines provided by the committee to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology are very useful for amending modern history textbooks for high schools.
These school books have been criticized for containing leftist ideology.
The most impressive aspect of the new guidelines is the emphasis placed on teaching “pride and devotion to our history.”
This is exactly why history should be taught to students.
Many other countries teach their future citizens pride in and devotion to their country so that their society can feel unified and strong.
In that sense, history textbooks need to be different from scholarly publications written by historians in universities.
They should contain ideas that appeal to the national consensus and explore the direction in which the country is heading, rather than look at arguments presented by certain individual scholars or schools.
Pride and devotion to a country’s history are based on the confidence people have in the legitimacy of their country. In that respect, existing textbooks clearly lean to the left.
However, current history textbooks do not go far enough in teaching students about South Korea and its context.
In fact, to the contrary, there are negative views about South Korea’s history in these books, which detracts from the pride that the students should be taught.
There are parts about North Korea that are positively friendly and fail to point out the problems with the communist dictatorship experience.
As a result, North Korea gets high marks for legitimacy.
The writers of the new textbooks must pay close attention to the proposals put forward by the National History Compilation Committee.
There should be no chance that the authors will reject the guidelines.
In addition, the authors should include more positive views about our country’s history.
The ministry should explain carefully to the authors the purpose and the background for the rewrites so that they can reflect the guidelines in the textbooks.
At the same time, the ministry should start hurrying its efforts now to completely reorganize the textbooks to be used beginning 2012.