Prejudice-free historyAuthorities have embarked on an ambitious project to improve the content and format in teaching history in lower schools. The committee on developing the subject, comprised of 20 historians and teachers, recently held its first public hearing.
It’s the first official activity of the government-sponsored committee who have the mission to rewrite the framework of history education at elementary, middle and high schools. Its set of proposals will be the foundation of new history textbooks and teaching methods, after authorization from the education minister in August. The committee has the role of reinstating the status of Korean history in classrooms.
The first hearing focused on reinstating Korean history as a mandatory course in lower school education. Korean history is currently a part of the sociology class and many suggested it be taught separately as an independent subject. Others suggested that it be an obligatory subject on college entrance exams or public service state exams. But making Korean history a requirement, when courses in high schools are turning increasingly optional and obligatory subjects are decreasing, may not be easy.
Yet at the same time, we cannot tolerate our young generation graduating lower school without sufficient knowledge of Korean history. The committee should muster all possible ideas and opinions to come up with the best possible option to make sure no high school graduates leave school without proper knowledge in their historical background.
Most important is the method of delivery and what details are taught. Textbooks should be unequivocally balanced and unprejudiced. All six of the current high school textbooks include details that are technically incorrect, self-conscious and left-wing. They can’t implant national pride and an awareness of history in future generations.
The committee should set indisputable standards in the publication and editing of history textbooks so an accurate understanding of history and pride can be provided for young students.
History should not be a yawn. It should be fun and inspiring. It should be taught outside the classrooms amidst the historical sites where wars and heroes have been active. History education is the starting point of the future of a nation and its people. It is why we cannot stop emphasizing the importance of history education. We hope the government and committee will do their job right this time.