Parents in Gyeongsan protest new textbooks

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Parents in Gyeongsan protest new textbooks

A group of parents of high school students is set to file a suit Thursday demanding the cancellation of the school’s adoption of controversial state-authored history textbooks.

Munmyeong High School in Gyeongsan, 331 kilometers (206 miles) southeast of Seoul, was designated by the government in February as the only school to use the textbooks in the new academic year starting this month.

Scores of students and parents have protested the decision, claiming the school authorities broke rules in applying to use the state-authored textbooks which have been criticized for allegedly biased interpretation of events in the nation’s modern history.

A committee of the parents plans to file an administrative suit with the district court of Daegu, demanding the provincial education office cancel the designation. It will also seek an injunction to stop the use of the textbooks while the proceedings are under way.

“The head of the school’s foundation and the principal unilaterally applied for the school’s designation as an experimental school for the state-authored textbooks,” the committee said in a statement.

It claimed the process was “illegal” because the school’s steering committee voted twice on the designation to get the result they wanted. Four incoming students have dropped out or moved to another school following the designation, it added.

The conservative Park Geun-hye administration introduced the books to correct what it viewed as a left-leaning, pro-North Korea bias in private publishers’ textbooks. But liberals slammed the texts for glorifying the military regime of Park’s father Park Chung Hee.

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