Authors of 7 history texts reject gov’t revision plan

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Authors of 7 history texts reject gov’t revision plan

A group of history textbook authors yesterday refused to accept the government’s recommendation to make hundreds of corrections, challenging the validity of the request.

“The Ministry of Education made the recommendations as if our textbooks distorted the national identity, while it failed to point out the biases in Kyohak Publishing Company’s textbook, which was criticized for glorifying pro-Japanese activities and dictatorships,” the authors of seven Korean history textbooks for high school students said in a joint statement. “The Education Ministry’s recommendations for the corrections and modifications are biased and we also question the professional expertise of the advisory board that made the suggestions.”

The ministry said Monday that the publishers of eight Korean history textbooks should make a total of 829 revisions and modifications by Nov. 1.

Earlier this month, opposition politicians in the National Assembly criticized one textbook by Kyohak Publishing Company for having a rightist bias. The ruling Saenuri Party responded by saying that seven textbooks were left-leaning. Errors in all eight books were also pointed out.

Although the eight high school textbooks were approved by the National Institute of Korean History in late August, the ministry formed a team of 25 civil servants and history teachers to analyze their content and also consulted a committee of 12 history experts. After the scrutiny, the ministry made the Monday announcement.

Of the eight publishers, Kyohak’s book was recommended to make the most corrections, numbering 251.

While Kyohak said it will accept the recommendations and make the changes, the authors of the other seven textbooks said yesterday they will work on their own corrections and only amend factual errors.

“Each publisher already conducted its own review,” the authors said. “We will compile the outcomes and announce them on Oct. 31. Each publisher will also deliver its position to the Education Ministry on how to proceed with the corrections.”

The authors said they did their best to remain neutral in the ideological debate, but the conservatives picked a fight.

“It was the New Right that politicized history education and started an ideological battle,” they said.

BY BAEK SUNG-HO, SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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