New guidelines give Dokdo more space in history texts

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New guidelines give Dokdo more space in history texts

The Education Ministry in Seoul announced new educational guidelines on Dokdo yesterday, instructing publishers to include more material about South Korea’s control of the East Sea islets in middle- and high-school textbooks.

The guideline is the latest in a series of government moves to strengthen the education of young students on the history of the easternmost South Korean islets, which are also claimed by Japan.

Under the revised guideline, at least two chapters in all history textbooks will cover Dokdo’s history and Japan’s claim to the islets during and after its colonial rule.

The guidelines also call for more detailed descriptions of Korean history in the early 1900s, including the 1910-1945 Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula and the 1909 Gando Convention, a treaty signed between Japan and China - without Korea’s consent - in which Japan received railroad concessions in Northeast China.

The new versions of the textbooks will be used in high schools starting in spring 2011 and in middle schools from 2012, according to the ministry.

“The purpose of the revision is to strengthen young students’ awareness of Korea’s turbulent modern history,” said Kim Hyun-sung, a ministry official in charge of the new guidelines.

Tensions flared between the two nations in early April when the Japanese government approved elementary school textbooks asserting that Dokdo is Japanese territory and that the islets were “illegally occupied” by South Korea.

South Korea has maintained a Coast Guard unit on the islets since 1954, continuing its effective control over them.Yonhap

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