South Korea: Propaganda Disguised as Education?

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – A new textbook awaiting publication by Kyohak Publishing Co. is now the subject of an intense argument between South Korean liberals and conservatives. On both sides, politicians, media personalities, and educators are making their opinions known.

Following the South Korean Ministry of Education’s decision to require students to learn Korean history for the College Scholastic Ability Test, the National Institute of Korean History (NIKH) agreed that eight textbooks would be acceptable for high school history classes. One of these books was written by a group of conservatives and was immediately criticized by liberals when the NIKH stated it met the requirements for inclusion in high school classes. Despite this, the Minister of Education and Kyohak have expressed negative sentiments.

So, why is this book such a big deal? According to liberals, it praises the dictatorships that ruled the country from the 60s to the 80s while ignoring the abuses suffered by citizens under those regimes. To this end, some worry that the work may be a political statement supporting President Park Geun-hye, daughter of one of the country’s former dictators. Many also disapproved of the book’s support of the Japanese colonization of the nation from 1910 to 1945. Further, critics claim that the authors did not get their facts straight, citing close to three hundred errors! If that isn’t bad enough, it has been verified that a portion of the book was taken straight from Wikipedia.

While it remains uncertain whether the book will be published or not, the textbook appears to be a pathetic attempt to indoctrinate the public with a skewed view of its nation’s history.

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