[Letters] History worth remembering
Korean history is no longer mandatory in schools anymore. When the local education system began to weigh English education more than Korean language, I had the feeling that schools were losing their fundamental role, which is to educate students to have a sense of morality and a creative mind, as well as nurturing sound citizens.
Now this has gone a little bit too far. Learning English was to build a sense of globalization. But what about not educating students in Korean history? What is the big idea behind not teaching students about their identity? Is it to make them true global citizens who do not have their own ideas about their own culture, identity and so on?
The government said that it wants more flexibility and would encourage schools to teach history. But they should give a better explanation than that.
From 2011, Korean history will no longer be mandatory. Currently, numerous students have a serious lack of historical knowledge. As students are more interested in getting into university, they tend not to study things that won’t help them to achieve that goal.
Forget about the Silla or Goryeo dynasties. Some studies even showed that some students do not know when the Korean War, a relatively recent event, took place.
Just what is the difference between schools and hagwon? Schools can adjust their teaching time to up to 20 hours, which enables educators to concentrate on subjects that can help students get into better colleges.
If the government thinks that history education is something outdated, impractical and boring, they are seriously mistaken. If a situation like this continues, after few decades, history manipulation by China and Japan will become more concrete and invincible.
Is sending students to better colleges and teaching more English really more important than the basis of Korea’s future? Name one single country in which learning history is a choice in public schools.
Students must learn about their identity. I am seriously worried about the future. How can English be mandatory while history is a choice? The government’s craving for poor pragmatism comes at too much of a loss.
Before ordering schools to teach this and that, we all have to think first about the purpose of education. I know South Korea is proud to become a major exporter for the world. However, are we making a product that can be sold outside, or are we raising a human that can carry on the history of Korea?
Kang Yoon Seung, student
at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
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