History study to be mandatory

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History study to be mandatory

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Education Minister Lee Ju-ho, middle, announces yesterday that Korean history will become mandatory next year for high school students. Also attending the briefing were Lee Bae-yong, left, chair of the history education committee, and Yi Tae-jin, principal of the National Institute of Korean History. By Cho Mun-gyu

Starting next year, all high school students will be required to take about 85 hours of Korean history before they can graduate, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced yesterday, changing the policy that had designated the subject as optional.

But Korean history will not be a mandatory subject for university admission, the ministry said, which means students can still choose whether they will take it as part of the College Scholastic Ability Test. Universities will choose whether they will consider the scores in their admission policy.

“Due to the Japanese government’s recent claim over Dokdo, demands have been high for teaching students the history of Korea,” said Lee Ju-ho, the education minister. “The new policy is aimed at encouraging students to feel proud of Korean history and uphold their will to protect our territory.”

At a press briefing held at the National Museum of Korea with officials of the National Institute of Korean History, Lee said the ministry will publish a new Korean history textbook focusing on future-oriented relationships with other countries and stressing its relevance to world history.

The course will also urge students to have discussions and go on field trip to archaeological sites and museums, not driving them to memorize facts and chronology only.

“The current Korean history textbook just lists facts in chronological order, not explaining why those events happened,” said Yi Tae-jin, principal of the National Institute of Korean History.

Since the study of history was made optional in 2009, both historians and citizens have complained that history should be an essential part of education, leading the ministry to change the policy, Yi said.

Asked why the ministry didn’t make history mandatory on the CSAT, the minister said, “The principle of the current government’s education policy is to ease the burden of students preparing for the CSAT. [Adding history] could put more pressure on students.”

Lee Bae-yong, chairwoman of a ministry committee for developing Korean history education, said, “The government’s decision to enhance Korean history education is expected to plant a healthy view of history for the next generation.”

But the committee chair added, “Considering the influence of the CSAT on Korean education, I think Korean history should be mandatory for the CSAT.”

The ministry also said yesterday that starting next year, all applicants for fifth-level civil servant positions in the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the National Assembly must pass the Test of Korean History Level 2, a government test that assesses understanding of Korean history, before they can apply for the National Civil Servant Test.

The Education Ministry is considering requiring the test for elementary and middle school teachers, eighth- and ninth-level civil servants and fifth-level Supreme Court officials.

“Since the end of Japanese colonial rule, Korean historians have exerted themselves to emphasize Korean history as a form of nationalism,” Yi said. “But rising globalization and competition created the need for a new history textbook,” Yi added.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

한국사, 고교 필수과목 됐다

● 내년 고1부터 전면 시행 ● 행시·외시도 한국사 필수 ● 2013년 교원임용 역시 의무화

내년에 고교생이 되는 현재 중3 학생들은 고교에서 한국사를 필수과목으로 공부해야 한다. 대입 수능에서 한국사는 선택과목으로 유지되며 입시 반영 여부는 개별 대학이 자율로 정한다. 또 내년부터 5급 공무원 공채시험(옛 행정·외무고시)에 한국사가 필수가 되고, 법원 5급 시험 등 각종 공무원시험에도 한국사를 의무화하는 방안이 추진된다. 특히 2013년부터는 국·공립 교사가 되려면 한국사능력검정시험(역시:歷試) 3급 이상의 실력을 갖춰야 임용시험에 응시할 수 있다.

이주호 교육과학기술부 장관과 이태진 국사편찬위원회 위원장, 이배용 역사교육과정개발추진위원회 위원장은 22일 서울 용산 국립중앙박물관에서 이런 내용의 ‘역사교육 강화 방안’을 공동 발표했다. 이 장관은 “내년 고교 입학생부터 인문고·특목고·전문계고 등 학교 특성에 관계없이 모든 학생이 한국사를 배우도록 필수로 지정한다”고 밝혔다. 올 1월 중앙일보가 ‘한국사, 필수과목으로 하자’는 어젠다(본지 1월 10일자 1, 4, 5면)를 제시한 이후 3개월 만에 정부가 정책에 반영한 것이다.

이 장관은 “고교 교육과정에 ‘사회교과군의 한국사는 반드시 이수한다’는 문구를 추가했다”며 “고교 3년간 주 5회 수업을 기준으로 최소 한 학기(85시간)는 한국사를 공부해야 한다”고 설명했다. 교과부는 한국대학총장협의회 등을 통해 각 대학이 인문사회 계열 등 관련 전공에서는 입시에 한국사를 반영하도록 권장할 방침이다.

각종 공무원시험의 한국사 필수 적용은 단계적으로 확대된다. 내년 5급 공무원 공채와 국회 5급 입법고등고시는 국사편찬위원회가 주관하는 역시 2급 이상자에게만 응시자격을 부여해 한국사가 필수가 된다.

교사 임용시험에 한국사 적용과 관련, 이 장관은 “교사가 되려면 전공에 관계없이 한국사에 대한 기본 소양을 갖춰야 한다”며 “2년간 준비기간을 거쳐 본격 시행하도록 검토중”이라고 밝혔다.

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